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Scytl and Telefónica Launch OpenSeneca, a Partnership to Transform Digital Democracy

  • OpenSeneca provides citizens, organizations and elected officials with secure tools for citizen participation and data-driven public policy to facilitate citizen engagement and government responsiveness.
  • The creation of OpenSeneca will entail an initial joint investment of € 35M.

Barcelona, February 24, 2016 – In the context of 4YFN at the MWC, Scytl and Telefónica Open Future_ today announced their plans to launch OpenSeneca, a new digital platform that will bridge the gap between citizens and their elected representatives by providing a secure channel through which to engage, debate and deliberate. OpenSeneca’s mission is to advance democratic participation, encourage citizen consultation and drive public transparency.

OpenSeneca will be a new entity formed as a spin-off of Scytl’s current non-election eDemocracy business, which includes staff, solutions, patents, customers and partners. The new company will benefit from Telefónica’s global footprint, infrastructure and sales network and Scytl’s domain expertise in eDemocracy and online voting and aims to become a reference in this niche market which is expected to reach a size of € 1Bn in the next 5 years. OpenSeneca will count with an initial contribution of € 35M from both companies which will be completed with the ongoing progress of the business plan.

OpenSeneca’s flagship product, to be launched in the spring of 2016, combines a global repository of open data with a set of interaction, data aggregation and exploration tools. Specifically, OpenSeneca’s offering consists of a citizen engagement platform that includes:

  • A suite of cloud-based tools for multidirectional participation, discussion, consultation and deliberation.
  • End-to-end data encryption and proprietary “immutable log” technology that ensure citizen privacy and guarantee the system’s integrity and auditability.
  • An open and anonymized data bank that will provide governments information relative to its citizen’s sentiments and will support decision making based on these sentiments. This information will be organized vertically by people and places, horizontally by topic and issue.

“Scytl has grown to become the global leader in the election modernization space and we now see the opportunity to do the same in the participatory democracy market, which in our view is ripe for new solutions,” says Pere Valles, CEO of Scytl.  “We believe that the best way to achieve this objective is by spinning off part of our current eDemocracy business and partnering with a company with the reputation and global reach of Telefónica. As a separate entity, OpenSeneca will have the focus, resources and autonomy to lead the transformation of digital democracy while, at the same time, counting with the backing and support of global leaders in their respective industries such as Scytl and Telefónica.”

“We have been an investor in Scytl for many years and have seen how they have been consolidating their business and growing internationally, leveraging business opportunities as these arise. Currently, communication between governments and citizens is limited, in most cases, to the electoral process that occurs every 4 years. This is insufficient for the new generations of citizens which demand to be heard in decisions that affect their daily lives and ask for tools that will enable them to interact more directly with their politicians. OpenSeneca not only fosters this interaction, but is also a valuable tool for organizations and governments as it gives them insight to the general sentiment in their community," says Ana Segurado, Global Director of Telefónica Open Future_. "With this agreement we aim to create a world leader in the field of eDemocracy that can benefit from Telefónica´s commercial network, global reach and infrastructure in a mass market."

Upon completion of the transaction, Pablo Sarrias, who currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Scytl, will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the new company. “I am excited to launch OpenSeneca, a new company created with the differential assets that will allow it to establish itself as a global leader in eDemocracy. The new solution will provide citizens, officials and organizations around the world a secure arena in which to express, collect and participate in the issues they care about. I am confident the new entity offers the right combination of people, product and vision to institutions who are looking to invest in digital channels for citizen engagement,” concludes Sarrias.

OpenSeneca´s initial patent portfolio is comprised of over 30 international patents and patent applications in the area of security applied to democratic and participatory processes. OpenSeneca’s stated mission is to help elected officials adapt to the ever-changing needs of their constituents, streamline decision making processes and reinforce public action and government responsiveness.  A limited version of the platform, expected to launch in the Spring of 2016, will be available for citizens and officials for free.

About Scytl

Scytl is the global leader in secure election management, online voting and eGovernance solutions. Specializing in election modernization technologies, Scytl offers the first end-to-end election management and voting platform, providing the highest security and transparency standards currently available. Scytl has capitalized on its more than 19 years of research to develop election-specific cryptographic security technology protected by more than 40 international patents and patent applications, positioning Scytl as the company with the largest patent portfolio of the industry. www.scytl.com

About Telefónica OpenFuture_

Open Future_ is the open innovation program that embodies Telefónica´s global commitment to develop and attract talent and entrepreneurship, gathering all the open innovation activities and projects across Telefónica since 2014 into a single organization. Through social entrepreneurship and commitment to youth entrepreneurship initiatives, Think Big and Talentum; Crowdworking spaces; the Wayra accelerators and Telefonica and Amerigo Ventures investment funds, powers and invests in people, ideas and viable technology based projects at any stage of growth, openly and in connection with public and private organizations. With a portfolio of over 850 accelerated startups, more than 600 invested startups inverted and offices in 17 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia startups, Telefónica Open Future_ helps turn innovative ideas into successful businesses. www.openfuture.org

About OpenSeneca

OpenSeneca provides people, places and organizations a secure channel to engage and respond to issues affecting governance and accountability. The company’s mission is to advance participation, encourage stakeholder consultation and drive transparency. To achieve this, OpenSeneca helps leaders adapt to the ever-changing needs of their constituents, streamline decision making processes and reinforce public action and government responsiveness. End-to-end data encryption ensures the privacy of citizen identity and proprietary “immutable log” technology guarantees the system’s integrity and auditability.

An early access program to the new service is available for citizens, organizations and elected officials on www.openseneca.com


Telefónica
At the image, Ana Segurado, director of Telefónica Open Future_