Missed any of wayraWeek 2013? Don’t worry, as you can relive the experience in our wayraWeek diary, which details all the action over the three days at our UK HQ.
wayraWeek saw thirty start-ups battle it out to become seventeen winning entries, securing up to €40,000 in funding and a purpose built work space and programme to facilitate the acceleration of their businesses.
The week began with Wayra Europe Director Simon Devonshire opening the event by saying: “you (the finalists) need to recognise how remarkable and extraordinary you are,” confirming that talent and potential were a key consideration during the selection process.
Our new UK Academy Director, Charmaine Eggberry pledged that, whatever the outcome from the week, Wayra was absolutely determined that every start-up left in a stronger position than before they arrived on day one. As part of this commitment, we put on a series of business skills workshops for the finalists.
To begin with, Stuart Hillston and Stewart Bewley led pitching content and techniques discussions on Tuesday.
Female Entrepreneurship Association founder Carrie Green spoke in the afternoon about the importance of attitude and mind set in making a start-up a success, sharing that “successful people are programmed for success.” Above all, she emphasised that visualising her goals helped to keep her focused on the outcome she wanted to achieve.
Carrie told us:
“Wayra stands out. It offers funding, support and a community spirit. I think having all three of those together is really important. I’ve visited other accelerators, but they have all been missing at least one of these… Start-ups often feel isolated, I know from my own experience as an entrepreneur. I didn’t see that at the Wayra Academy.”
Wednesday was the main day for pitching. Our judges reviewed the proposals of 21 of the 30 finalists, going on late into the evening.
Aurore Hochard and Rahul Ahuja (Task Hub), Brian Taylor (PixelPin) and Will Hodson (Platter), all members of the inaugural 2012 cohort and now Wayra alumni attended, giving short presentations about their experiences at Wayra and offering advice as start-ups that have successfully secured additional investment after joining the UK academy.
Our workshops continued with Will Kemble-Clarkson of Perlin Design discussing the importance of, and how to, develop a brand. Bryce Keane from Albion Drive shared advice on PR for entrepreneurs, on topics like how to draft a press release and what journalists look for in a news story. Sarah Malter from Grant Tree offered insight into raising funding and engaging with public sector initiatives like R&D tax credits, SEIS and the Patent Box.
The day began with the remaining nine start-ups pitching to the judges. In the afternoon, Ben Dowd, Business Director at O2 UK and Matthew Key, CEO of Telefonica Digital talked about their experiences as Telefonica executives.
Charmaine announced that we’ll be introducing Hot Wayra – a new mentoring and advisory opportunity for the start-ups not selected for the 2013 cohort. She made a commitment to each of them that Wayra would help strengthen their business plans so that they could re-apply for wayraWeek 2014.
An engaging and interactive workshop on professional networking skills from StartUp Britain’s Oli Barrett followed. Topics included “The Swoop” technique, how to network in a roomful of strangers and how to leave a conversation.
Then it was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Everyone in the office, both the start-ups and O2 employees were buzzing. The atmosphere was phenomenal. Broadcast live around the world on Wayra.tv, our judging panel decided that 17 start-ups of the 30 entries were suitable and ready to enter the UK Academy. Read more about our winners here.
With over 50 hours (2 ½ days) of work fuelled by takeaway pizza and Red Bull, 30 pitches targeting industries from e-commerce to removals, 8 judges from venture capital firms, brand agencies and software developers; and 10s of different nationalities represented amongst the entrants and judging panel. wayraWeek was amazing experience for all involved.
The real work has only just begun for our 2013 cohort. They will move into the Academy at the end of April now that last year’s winners have left. Many of the 2012 class have already secured further investment to continue to develop the growth of their businesses. Check out these blog stories for a few examples: PixelPin and TaskHub.
Share and enjoy the moments from wayraWeek on #wwuk and @WayraUK.
View the summary video from the week here: