Telefonica induces Wayra X, its global online hub for investment in digital start-ups.

Nearly 10 years ago Telefónica decided to set up Wayra and open the doors of the company to entrepreneurs. Today, with the biggest digitalization drive in recent history the world is closer than ever before. Telefónica today presents two initiatives to complement the company's strategy of innovative innovation, open to the enterpreneurial ecosystem, during the online innovation event entitled Telefónica Innovation Day.

  • 100% digital startups geared towards mass markets and focused on 5G, e-health, e-learning, the digital home, entertainment, mobility and the future of work, among many others.

  • The new hub already has two invested startups (Peoople and BlaBla) and intends to invest in more than 10 new projects by the end of 2021.

  • The company also presents Wayra Builder, an initiative focused on creating startups in partnership with third parties by using technology developed internally by Telefónica.

Wayra X is the first digital hub of Wayra to invest 100% in digital start-ups worldwide. They all work remotely to develop a digital mass consumer product which can reach millions of users irrespective of their geographical area.

In the meantime, a second Wayra Builder initiative was created. He is an entrepreneur whose objective is in partnership with external investors, to capitalise on the internal skills and technologies of Telefónica to establish innovative enterprises.

Telefónica strengthens its commitment to the business ecosystem

Wayra X seeks to invest in startups anywhere in the world, beyond the countries in which Telefónica operates, in such a way that we’re able to improve people’s lives by incorporating the latest technology into their lives. Without a specific geographical location, Wayra X focuses on projects aimed at mass markets and related to 5G, e-health, e-learning, the digital home, entertainment, mobility and the future of work, among many others, with a product prototype on the market that can be offered to Telefónica’s customers all around the world.

This new digital hub is born with two startups in its portfolio and plans to invest in another ten by the end of 2021:

  • BlaBla (Shanghai) is an online education platform supported by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology which, by means of short videos, helps students of English to connect with content produced by native speakers.

  • Peoople (Madrid) is an app for discovering recommendations of friends and popular influencers on different topics, including books, restaurants, music and all kinds of experiences.

“In the entrepreneurial world the most successful companies are those that are capable of solving a specific problem brilliantly, in other words, those capable of clearing an X. At Wayra X we look for companies focused on mass markets that are able to provide technological solutions for problems affecting millions of people”, explains Andrés Saborido, global head of Wayra. “Wayra X is a hub without any geographical barriers, 100% digital and designed to locate mass products that can be discovered and distributed in digitally”, he declares.

Start-ups will gain access to an excellent team of experts and mentors by being part of Wayra X. They will also be offered services that are provided 100% remotely to scale their businesses, with fast-track customer access, pre-installation testing in terminals, and the possibility of integration into Movistar+'s LivingApps.

As far as Wayra Builder is concerned, it will partner with external investors and concentrate on creating start-ups that capitalise on the high-potential technology internally developed at Telefónica. Deeder, which specialises in cybersecurity and legal technology, is the first start-up created by Wayra Builder. This is a spin-off of an innovation project conducted by Telefónica Tech's cybersecurity company, ElevenPaths. Its solution enables the signing of contracts via messaging apps.

In addition to these two new initiatives, Wayra is present in seven innovation hubs in Europe and Latin America with a clear objective, namely to help startups to expand on a global scale. Since its inception, Wayra has invested 49 million euros in startups. Telefónica’s Connected Open Innovation area, of which Wayra is part, has a portfolio of more than 500 startups, more than 140 of which are already working on providing disruptive solutions for Telefónica and its global network of more than 340 million customers.

ARTICLE INFORMATION on Telefonica Newsroom

Article Edited and Republished for CTen by Suraj Maity