Monday, 30 September 2013

Wayra provides E30 million boost to Startups



Wayra, Telef√≥nica’s international start-up accelerator, has revealed that it has helped entrepreneurs secure investment of almost €30m since it was set up just two years ago.

Figures released by the telecoms giant’s digital innovation arm show that it has invested €9.4m directly into start-ups, which has led to follow on backing from third parties worth more than €20m. Almost 300 start-ups have been through the programme to date, of which 274 are still in business.

Wayra’s progress report coincided with the accelerator announcing a new call for digital projects in key markets including Ireland. The businesses that Wayra chooses to accelerate focus on using the internet and new technologies to innovate. Wayra is open to applications from a wide range of digital start-up businesses and is not exclusively focussed on the telecommunications sector.

In the latest call, entrepreneurs from all over the world have until midnight on October 20th to apply at http://www.wayra.org/joinus for a place in one of the eight Academies included in this call.

After passing an exhaustive selection process, the selected finalists take part in the acceleration programme giving them an investment of up to €40,000, devoted mentors, a space for their team to work at the Wayra Academy in Dublin and potential access to the Telef√≥nica Group’s businesses and contacts. In return for this, Wayra will take a convertible loan note in the business that they will exchange for between 7% and 10% equity during a later investment round. Entrepreneurs will also join Wayra’s investor, partner and expert network in different parts of the world.

Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra Europe, said: “The Wayra model of incubating exciting start-up businesses has already proven its strength through the finance of 295 companies across its 14 academies. A total of €20m has been raised in follow on funding after initial investment from Telefonica, and of the 295 start-ups to come through Wayra’s doors, 274 are still operating. In this next call we look forward to welcoming all start-ups, but in particular we’d like to see more start-ups working in the fields of big data and media/advertising, as we see these as two key markets for development in the coming 12 months.”

Started up in April 2011 to support the growth of innovation and technological entrepreneurship, in just two years Wayra has consolidated its position as one of the largest accelerators in the world, operating in twelve different countries in Latin America and Europe.

In Ireland, Wayra provides sustained support for the local entrepreneur ecosystem through its academy in Dublin, which has already accelerated 2 generations of new businesses in a diverse range of sectors, all with great potential and ambitious goals for worldwide growth and expansion.

Photo: http://m.flickr.com/photos/wayra-org/7443535068/lightbox/