Plaza Points and Cinepapaya: two examples of the successful strategy that Telefónica has implemented to support entrepreneurship and innovation

The British magazine The Economist has recently published a ranking of global innovation for the largest Internet companies by country.

The study indicates that there is no European or Latin American company present amongst the 10 largest Internet companies in the world. These companies are either American, Chinese, South African, Japanese or South Korean.

Amongst other reasons, this lack of Latin American and European companies is due to the brain drain from Europe and Latin America which, in turn, is leading their most talented entrepreneurs to emigrate because their countries are not able to guarantee them the support and financing that they require.

Thus, in order to stop this brain drain, Telefónica created Wayra in April 2011 in Latin America. This program identifies those ideas that have a great potential in the area of ICTs and encourages their development by providing entrepreneurs with the technological assistance, advice and the necessary financial resources.

The Wayra program encourages entrepreneurs to submit their projects and, in exchange for a participation of between 5% and 10%, those that are selected receive:

• financing,

• access to Telefónica resources – including technical and management experience,

• a place to work.

It is a win-win situation for all parties involved: Telefónica obtains access to a larger set of ideas, whereas those startups that we help are given the opportunity to offer their innovative services to over 300 million customers.

There are 12 Wayra academies worldwide located in the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Spain (2), United Kingdom, Germany and China.

Two examples of this successful strategy that Telefónica has implemented to support entrepreneurship and innovation originate from the fourth edition of Wayra Peru – open since the 12th of May until the 8th of June of this year –, which in addition to reaping excellent results after receiving nearly 700 projects from local entrepreneurs has managed to situate two of its companies as the number one and two of the three most outstanding in this business in Peru. These companies are Plaza Points and Cinepapaya.

Plaza Points is a commercial platform that aims to reward customer loyalty in stores and businesses whey they do their shopping. Using a points program, customers are allowed to pay for their purchases using points whenever they have accumulated a certain number of them.

Cinepapaya is a company that offers a single point of sale for cinema tickets through the Internet and mobile devices (run with Android, iOS and Windows phone operating systems) for all the movie listings of 18 Latin American countries plus Malaysia, the Philipines and Thailand. In addition, it was awarded last month with the “Endeavor” award, which allows it to continue its global enlargement within the Endeavor international entrepreneurship net. Cinepapaya is valued at more than $30 million and recently opened and investment round to obtain $7 million in order to accelerate its international expansion.

The main Wayra startups in Peru are currently valued at over US$13 million and, in the case of Plaza Points and Cinepapaya, both have plans for regional growth while each one currently has over 250,000 users.