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Wayra: a Telefónica program to encourage technological entrepreneurship and innovation

Wayra (meaning ‘wind’ in Quechua) aims to act as an accelerator for the development of future Silicon Valleys in countries where Telefónica is present.

We want to help halt the ‘brain drain’ which sees talented entrepreneurs move from Latin America or Europe to California, because they cannot secure the financing and support they need in their home countries. Wayra was created in Latin America in April 2011 to identify ideas with strong potential in ICT and to boost their development by providing them with technology and mentoring support while financing them. Entrepreneurs are invited to submit their projects to Wayra. Selected projects receive financing (in exchange for 5% to 10% share), access to Telefónica resources (including management and technical expertise) and a place to work. There are 12 Wayra academies all over the World: in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Spain (2), the UK, Germany and China.

After four years of existence, Wayra has received more than 27,000 projects and accelerated more than 450 digital companies in Europe and Latin America. Only in 2014, Wayra invested more than €4,500,000 and accelerated 89 startups, acheiving the first place in the “Top 10 – Main Startup Investors” of 2014 in Europe and the second place in the “Top 20 – Most Active Accelerators” of 2014 in Europe of the Fundacity European Accelerator Report 2014.

It is a win-win situation. Telefónica gets access to a wider pool of ideas, and the start-up companies we are supporting have the opportunity to offer their innovations to our more than 316 million customers.