Wayra accelerator seeks applications from digital start-ups

13 Dec 2012

Gonzalo Martin-Villa, global director of Wayra, Telefónica Digital; Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD; and Tony Hanway, CEO, Telefónica Ireland

Telefónica’s global start-up accelerator Wayra, which opened its Dublin hub earlier this year, is now accepting applications from start-ups to enter its Dublin academy.

The incubator opened a Dublin base at O2’s headquarters on the quays this year, with nine start-ups being accepted for its first programme in September.

Telefónica provides each start-up with financing of around €50,000 and in exchange will take a 10pc stake in each venture via a convertible note funding option.

Start-ups are given incubation space at Wayra for six months, as well as mentoring, technical support and access to other entrepreneurs to help with their business development.

And this time around Wayra is holding a global call for applications. This means start-ups can apply to their local academy or to another participating academy in Europe or Latin America, depending on visa requirements.

As well as Dublin, Wayra academies in Barcelona, London, Madrid, Munich, Prague, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Santiago and São Paulo are now open for applications.

Wayra said its new Prague academy will aim to attract digital talent from across eastern Europe.

Those with ideas for new digital start-ups have until 21 January 2013 to submit their online applications.

Karl Aherne, director of Wayra Ireland, said the support the accelerator provides is significant, not only in terms of giving start-ups a workspace and mentoring, but also the opportunity to work with other entrepreneurs.

One of the nine start-ups based at Wayra in Dublin is ThoughtBox, which has created a free iPad app called Numerosity to help change how children learn about maths and science. Another new venture called PayMins is aiming to make it easy for content creators, such as musicians, to sell directly to their fans using mobile phone payments.

Wayra announced the global call for start-ups at its global demo day in Miami, Florida, yesterday. Seventeen start-ups from 11 countries, including the social betting platform BragBet from Wayra Ireland, pitched their business plans to investors.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic