Wayra has a dedicated focus on nurturing the best ideas and talent in the field of ICT. The winning start-ups have taken that platform and translated it into an array of exciting new products and services across a huge range of industries and sectors including: retail; property; education; travel and entertainment.
One of the nine Wayra judges, Sha Wasmund, founder of Smarta.com, said: “The selected businesses not only give an insight into the breadth of imagination and innovation in the UK, but also deliver confirmation that the UK has a strong pipeline of talent capable of building the future digital economy that will deliver growth and jobs.” She continued: “There are lots of “incubator” ideas coming out, but few, if any, which rival Wayra’s global reach and potential to scale new businesses from concept to commercial reality.”
Wayra’s ambition is to tap into a broad range of UK talent, irrespective of age or background, the sixteen successful digital entrepreneurs who will join the Wayra programme range from 20 through 50 years of age. The group also includes four projects which are led by current, or recently graduated, University students.
Simon Devonshire, Director of Wayra in Europe commented: “I often hear intense debate about continued and escalating recession. I think, sadly, we are experiencing a crisis of growth. The old economy, that is familiar to many of us, is disintegrating. In this period of transition and uncertainty there is a huge opportunity to modernise and embrace the potential of the new digital economy. What makes Wayra, and this judging process, so fascinating is that it gives a tangible glimpse into what that new digital economy might look like, and the nature of businesses that will drive it forward.”
Successful Wayra applicant, Matthew Munro, Co- founder of Pollarize.me said of the experience: “It’s been a great opportunity to meet and network with the other teams. The energy in the space has been fantastic, and I think it’s an awesome sign of what we’ve got to look forward to when we get inside the Wayra Academy for real.”
The announcement of the successful sixteen businesses follows a three day intensive pitch process which saw a shortlist of 30 start-ups pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges including Wasmund, Rajeeb Day, CEO Enternship & co-founder of Start Up Britain and Luke Hakes, principal at Octopus Investments.
The sixteen businesses selected:
Hiyalife Ltd – A new social network to log, store and timeline your memories.
CloudBlocks – An ‘app store’ with tools for businesses to manage servers.
Chatterbox Analytics – A tool to help businesses identify and manage online brand advocates and to discover engagement
TaskHub – An online community hub and social marketplace to advertise your errands and odd jobs to neighbourhood service providers.
MakeLight Interactive – Turns people, via their mobiles, into pixels by creating a giant screen across the crowd at live events.
TrueView – A real-time dating app to update information and interact with other users without profiles becoming stagnant.
Minicabit.co.uk – A pre-pay, pre-book minicab platform.
Insane Logic (MyChoicePad) – The MyChoicePad is an app set to reduce the cost of classroom technology by brining language aids to smart technology.
Night Zookeeper – An educational game for families and schools, combining drawing and traditional play in a zoo building game.
Pollarize.me – A polling application that allows people to survey their friends across their social networks.
PixelPin – Pictures replace passwords with this secure pin model for mobile and web services.
Six3 Ltd – A platform to make it quicker, easier and cheaper for people to send and share video messages.
Blue Butterfly Digital Ltd – An app that allows you to instantly connect to wi-fi networks without fiddly registration processes.
2ndSight – An innovative Smartphone platform that enables blind people to effectively use mobile touch screen technology.
Epicurely – A social network to connect people who love food with each other allowing users to build their own online chef persona and gain recognition for their cooking talents.
Touchline Solutions – Using smart phone technology to combat the problem of queuing.
Devonshire, continued: “Through Wayra we firmly believe we can help stimulate innovation, support economic growth and ultimately help nurture the skills and the jobs of the future. That belief is only enhanced by what I’ve seen in the last few days – an array of talented, hungry and passionate individuals with genuinely game changing ideas across multiple sectors.”
Now the sixteen successful start-ups will embark on a six month residency in the new state of the art Wayra Academy located in central London. There, they will benefit from financing, mentoring, access to technology tools and expertise as well as links into a like minded network of entrepreneurs from across Wayra’s global footprint of accelerator academies.
At the end of the six month programme, the start-ups will be introduced to a growing network of venture capitalists for next stage funding. In exchange for initial financing Telefónica receives the right of first refusal on products, but it does not require the entrepreneurs to give it exclusivity.
Wayra is part of Telefónica’s new Digital unit and is set to become the world’s largest technology accelerator programme. Launched last year in Latin America and Spain, Wayra was created to find and nurture the best technology ideas and talent, aiming to become an accelerator for the development of future ‘Silicon Valleys’. The London academy is the tenth to be added to the global Wayra network.