Telefónica Open Future, China Unicom and THTI launch a joint global call to accelerate startups in the IoT space

- The three companies, which already have an agreement to promote open innovation, will also open three crowdworking spaces in Beijing, Madrid and Shanghái. - Twelve startups have presented their projects to more than 400 international investors at the Open Future Showcase in Barcelona that was inaugurated by José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica. - Telefónica Open Future already has a portfolio of more than 500 companies and 300m euros under management.

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– The three companies, which already have an agreement to promote open innovation, will also open three crowdworking spaces in Beijing, Madrid and Shanghái.
– Twelve startups have presented their projects to more than 400 international investors at the Open Future Showcase in Barcelona that was inaugurated by José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica.
– Telefónica Open Future already has a portfolio of more than 500 companies and 300m euros under management.

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, March 3 2015- Telefónica Open Future, the open innovation programme by Telefónica; China Unicom, one of the largest Chinese carriers; and Tsinghua Technology and Innovation  (THTI), the technological innovation platform of renowned Tsinghua University, today announced the launch of a joint global call to detect and accelerate innovative startups to develop projects of common interest to the three companies in the Internet of Things (IOT) space.

The announcement was made during the first Telefónica Open Future Showcase inaugurated by José María Álvarez-Pallete, chief operating officer of Telefónica, and was held as part of Four Years From Now (4YFN) – parallel event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona aimed at the international entrepreneur ecosystem.

The alliance will select and accelerate 10 projects helping them to expand their businesses by leveraging the resources and scale of Telefónica, China Unicom and THTI. Together they offer services to more than 791 million customers and operate an entrepreneurship support network that expands across three continents.

“With the involvement of  China Unicom and THTI, this is one of the most significant agreements Telefónica Open Future has signed at an international level because it brings the Chinese entrepreneurship ecosystem closer to those of Europe and Latin America”, said José María Álvarez-Pallete at the opening of the Telefónica Open Future Showcase. “With this alliance and the joint global call that we are launching today, we will offer startups in these three regions the support they need to grow, think differently and take their business to new heights. We are not only offering these startups work spaces, resources and financing but also commercial opportunities building on the clients and extensive networking opportunities of the three companies”

The selected startups will benefit from a network of incubators and accelerators that the three companies have in 17 countries alongside a guaranteed space in any of the three newly created crowdworking spaces that are specifically dedicated to this alliance in Madrid, Beijing and Shanghai.

Each startup will take advantage of a customised programme focused on the acceleration and development of its business according to the degree of maturity and growth potential.  The program will include office spaces in the new markets, pilots in the R&D departments of the companies, privileged access to sources of investment and great networking opportunities.

Telefónica, China Unicom and THTI have been collaborating since June 2014 when they signed an agreement to promote a global platform for open innovation by sharing their sources of innovation and resources. Today’s announcement is a step forward in that collaboration whereby the companies, in addition to searching for internal synergies between their portfolios, now search for new talent. The collaboration has already helped startups from Telefónica’s Open Future programme reach agreements with Chinese companies and likewise Chinese startups have been able to leverage Telefónica’s operations around the globe.

Startups from three continents participate in the first Telefonica Open Future Showcase

12 startups that encompass some of the initiatives that make up Telefónica Open Future (Wayra, Amérigo, Telefónica Ventures and company partners, among others) have presented their projects to an audience of more than 400 international investors at 4YFN, an event for entrepreneurs and innovation that is currently being held as part of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The startups presenting were from Asia, Europe and Latin America at various states of maturity, and working in a variety of different fields. As José María Álvarez-Pallete pointed out during his speech at the 4YFN event, these startups reflect the spirit behind Open Future.

“Telefónica has been a pioneer in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation through various different initiatives in the markets where we operate. Open Future represents a step forward – we want to reach more youngsters, generate a greater impact and play a bigger role in contributing to economic change as more and more industries become digitised. This is only possible with the support of public and private partners willing to share forces, resources and experience”, he pointed out.

Through Wayra, Telefónica Ventures and Amerigo, the three technology investment tools which are part of the programme, Telefónica Open Future has 300 million euros under management, built a portfolio of around 500 companies and generated more than 5,000 jobs. The programme is present in 17 countries and collaborates with 60 partners around the world.

One of the most recent investments made by Telefónica Open Future is the one made through Telefónica Ventures in Sigfox, the company specialising in networks for the IoT.  An investment was also made in Carto BD, a startup that focuses on online mapping and was showcased at the 4YFN event. This investment was made through Amerigo, the international network of technology venture capital lead by Telefónica.

Startups participating at Telefónica Open Future  showcase

  • Adjust is a business intelligence platform for mobile app marketers, combining attribution for advertising sources with advanced analytics and store statistics.
  • Amésanté is a healthcare platform integrating cloud technologies, smart sensor technology wireless communication technologies.
  • Apparcar  is the first park system that lets you find the nearest available spot on the street to your destiny without the use of sensors.
  • Blueliv is a leading provider of targeted cyber threat information and analysis intelligence for large enterprises, service providers, and security vendors.
  • Cartobd is software as a service (saas) cloud computing platform that provides gis and web mapping tools for display in a web browser.
  • EmotionsAR is an augmented reality startup.
  • Qustodio helps parents to protect kids online.
  • Firstv1sion is a wearable broadcast system that immerses sports fans into an event through the athlete’s’ point of view
  • Geenapp  is an app promotion platform that pays people for app promotion and installation (P2P advertising)
  • Upplication redefines app creation for businesses emphasizing simplicity and helping them to increase their sales and communication with their customers. In 2014 they made applications in 51 different countries.
  • Visualnacert creates colourful maps to simplify the visualisation of agriculture to make decisions easier and improve the profitability of fields. In 2014 the company made +600k revenue and operated in 4 continents.
  • VTX, Product search through images for mobile commerce and mobile technology for retail.

About Telefónica

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. With its best in class mobile, fixed and broadband networks, and innovative portfolio of digital solutions, Telefónica is transforming itself into a ‘Digital Telco’, a company that will be even better placed to meet the needs of its customers and capture new revenue growth.

The company has a significant presence in 21 countries and a customer base of 341 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4,657,204,330 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market  and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.

About China Unicom

China Unicom has branches and subsidiaries in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China as well as a list of countries and regions abroad, it is the only Chinese telecom operator that is listed in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai simultaneously. China Unicom has been among Fortune 500 Companies for many consecutive years, it ranks No. 258 among Fortune 500 in 2013.  China Unicom mainly operates fixed line communication services, mobile communication services, domestic and international communication facility services, satellite international dedicated links, data communication services, network access services and various value-added telecom services, as well as system integration services related to communication and information business. China Unicom’s revenue, customer base and market capitalization are all among leading telecom operators in the world.

In 2014, China Unicom set up a wholly owned subsidiary – Unicom Innovation Venture Capital Ltd. Together with local governmental authorities and universities in Shanghai, it founded China Unicom Center for International Mobile Internet Entrepreneurship (CIMIE), a constituting function of Unicom Innovation Venture Capital. By combining its incubation services and investment platform, the company will be able to foster innovation, capture new growth opportunities, and attract innovation talents.

About THTI

Tsinghua Holdings Technology and Innovation Holdings Co., Ltd. (“THTI”) is a science and technology service provider and a science park operator, with technological innovation services as its primary business. THTI is a member enterprise and the technological innovation platform of Tsinghua Holdings Co., Ltd. Dedicated to the technological services industry, THTI focuses its strategy on regional innovation and technological company development through chain operations, network, capital and internalization, and gradually developed five main business areas, covering innovation and entrepreneurship, science parks, investment and incubation, technology related finance, and international businesses.

THTI, operates 18 science parks nationwide, with partners in over 50 cities, as well as a strong incubation system consisting of Innoway, Virtue Inno Valley, Binggo Café, Lean One Academy and TIPark Silicon Valley,  covering more than three million square meters of science park space, providing incubation services for more than 1,000 technological enterprises, and invested in more than 100 enterprises. THTI is committed to technological services, aiming at becoming a global leading name in technological services, a platform integrating innovation resources, a science park operations expert, and the best partner for innovation and entrepreneurship services.


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