It’s almost ten years since Telefónica decided to create Wayra, and open the company’s doors to entrepreneurs. Today, the world is more connected than ever before, having undergone the biggest digitalization drive in recent history.
Against this backdrop, during the online innovation event Telefónica Innovation Day, Telefónica is presenting two initiatives that will bolster the company’s mission to drive innovation by opening its doors to the global entrepreneurial community.
Wayra X is Wayra’s first 100% digital hub designed to invest globally in 100% digital startups. These startups will all work remotely on the development of a mass consumer digital product that can reach millions of users, regardless of the geographical area.
Telefónica has also launched a second initiative, Wayra Builder. This is a Corporate Venture builder whose aim is to capitalize on Telefónica’s internal talent and technology to create innovative startups in partnership with external investors.
“At today’s event, we want to show not only the internal innovation that takes place throughout the company but also our open innovation strategy in cooperation with third parties, particularly entrepreneurs. We want this collaborative ecosystem to continue to grow, which is why we’ve launched these two initiatives of great strategic value for Telefónica and its customers”, explains Irene Gómez, director of Connected Open Innovation at Telefónica.
Telefónica reinforces its support for the entrepreneurial ecosystem
Wayra X seeks to invest in startups anywhere in the world, beyond the countries in which Telefónica operates, in order to improve people’s lives through the latest technology. Wayra X will be home to projects aimed at mass markets in areas such as 5G, e-health, e-learning, the digital home, entertainment, mobility, and the future of work, and which have 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 10 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 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 Director 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 digitally”, he declares.
By forming part of Wayra X, startups will obtain access to an excellent team of experts and mentors. They’ll also be offered services to scale their businesses that are provided 100% remotely, with fast-track access to customers, testing the pre-installation in terminals, and the possibility of integration into the LivingApps of Movistar+.
As for Wayra Builder, it will partner with external investors and focus on creating startups that capitalize on high-potential technology developed internally at Telefónica. The first startup created by Wayra Builder is Deeder, which specializes in cybersecurity and legal-tech. This is a spin-off of an innovation project carried out by ElevenPaths, Telefónica Tech’s cybersecurity company. Deeder’s product allows contracts to be signed 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: 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.