At the ‘Four Years From Now’ (4YFN) tech and start-up event taking place at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the innovation arms of Deutsche Telekom (hub:raum), Orange (Orange Fab), Singtel (Singtel Innov8), and Telefónica (Telefónica Open Future) have launched Go Ignite – a new brand for the alliance, formed in September 2015 to connect the start-up ecosystems across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
To coincide with this, Go Ignite is also launching its first global call for start-ups to enter their projects into one of the following five categories: Internet of Things (IoT), cyber security, big data analytics, content delivery and customer experience enhancement.
The alliance offers a programme to help top start-ups find business development opportunities, accelerate the commercialisation of their innovations and scale their business outside their home market. Up to five innovative start-ups will be selected for the programme, which ends on 30 April.
To translate their ideas into viable solutions quicker, selected start-ups will benefit from the alliance members’ collective resources. These include obtaining insights into different markets, introductions to partners, the use of co-working spaces, potential investment, coaching, mentoring, invitations to start-up showcases and events and access to the alliance members’ operating businesses. They will also have the opportunity to gain access to Go Ignite alliance members’ business units and their collective customer base, which includes enterprises and consumers, equating to over one billion mobile customers across five continents.
OptiWi-fi, a Wayra-Telefónica Open Future startup whose unique patented Wi-Fi technology enables telcos to extend cellular services over Wi-Fi, has benefitted from this arrangement. “As a result of the collaboration between Orange and Telefonica, our engagement was accelerated and we are now working on a pilot for Orange’s Innovation Team. This is a great success for OptiWi-fi and should benefit Orange and its customers relying on Wi-Fi services in to the future,” said Mr Mark Burke, Chief Executive Officer of OptiWi-fi.
Another beneficiary is Idomoo, an Orange Fab start-up, which has developed a personalized video storytelling technology to engage customers at every touch point in the customer journey, through dynamic and real time videos. Optus, part of the Singtel Group, has partnered with Idomoo for a service that helps enhance responsiveness to customers. An initial project is underway to test and optimize the technology to assist in handling billing enquiries and improve customer experience.
Min-Kin Mak, VP, hub:raum, Deutsche Telekom said, “Go Ignite was created by partners all fully committed to cooperate with start-up companies. Each of the involved carriers has built respective programmes to work with start-ups and to leverage corporate assets for many years. Now, linking all these initiatives under the Go Ignite programme brings a complete new level of support to start-ups. This is a clear win-win situation as Go Ignite is eager to attract and to work with the most promising and category leading start-up companies.”
Ms Nathalie Boulanger, Start-up Ecosystem Director, Orange said: “The Go Ignite alliance provides start-ups with an unrivalled opportunity to tap into the collective resources of four major global carriers, who collectively represent over one billion customers worldwide. The ability to help them, at a very operational level, to scale up their development is essential for start-ups, and we can offer them a wealth of services to help them tap into the support and business development opportunities they need at a critical time when speed and agility is of the essence.”
Mr Edgar Hardless, Chief Executive Officer, Singtel Innov8, said, ““The Go Ignite alliance helps start-ups succeed in multiple markets by providing them with the right resources that are critical for their commercialisation. Selected start-ups can expect access to the alliance’s business units and refine their solutions within a sizeable customer base. Combining our resources together, the Go Ignite programme can give start-ups a better chance to scale across markets worldwide. Given its deep connections and market insights in Asia where it is based, Innov8 is well-positioned to further open doors to emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region.”
Mrs Ana Segurado, Managing Director of Telefónica Open Future said: “In the hectic environment in which we are living in, it is impossible to think about successful innovation models that develop on their own. Collaboration has demonstrated to be the most efficient tool when it comes to put in place new technologies that help resolve global problems. With Go Ignite, the four telcos want to support entrepreneurs in turning their projects into innovative products and in fostering their growth, hoping to find new digital solutions for our final users that make their life easier.”