Alongside direct investment of €9.4 million (£7.9 million), start-up accelerator Wayra has helped secure an additional €20 million for businesses.
New figures released by telecom business Telefonica’s digital innovation division for its first two years of operations shows that the programme has seen some 295 start-ups move through the process.
The accelerator, which has academies in London, Munich, Barcelona and ten other global cities, aims to promote innovation and foster entrepreneurial talent throughout Europe and Latin America. Having kick-started operations in April 2011, its focus is on the internet and ICT market.
Charmaine Eggberry, director of Wayra London, says the fact that Wayra has helped finance 295 companies through its 14 academies proves the model works.
‘A total of €20 million 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,’ she adds.
Moving forward, Wayra is now issuing a call for new digital products to move through eight academies including London. If selected, the start-ups will receive an initial investment of €40,000 as well as mentors and space to work. Wayra will take a convertible loan note in the business that will be exchanged for somewhere between a 7 per cent and 10 per cent equity stake in a later investment round.
Eggberry says, ‘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.’
Back in January 2013, UK-based Taskhub became the first Wayra start-up to be backed by Telefonica Digital’s venture capital team through a six-figure investment. Taskhub works by allowing users to post a ‘Task’ needing to be done, which then receives offers.
Other companies of note to move through Wayra are GoCarShare, which recently secured additional capital through crowdfunding platform Seedrs, and Insane Logic which closed a £250,000 angel round earlier in September.