Telefonica Launch UK Technology Programme Wayra, Away From 'Tech City' Location
The parent company of O2 and international mobile phone giant, Telefonica, have announced the launch their UK technology accelerator programme, Wayra, and promised to invest €1million in UK start-up companies.
The Wayra project, which connects start-up businesses with investors and prospective mentors, was a huge success in Spain and Latin America during 2011, so it’s no surprise that the programme would be launched across Europe to help kick-start the economy.
An obvious choice to house Telefonica’s UK headquarters would be the ‘Tech City’ in London’s East End, however, the company were unable to find suitable office space before the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Instead, Telefonica have taken up 12,745sqft of office space at Shropshire House, in the heart of University College London’s campus, where it will nurture 20 of the most promising ICT start-up companies, giving them €50,000 each in return for a 10% stake in their business.
Telefonica’s Wayra project has already attracted 6,000 applications since the programmes launch. The mobile phone giant also hopes to attract students from the University College London’s campus in the hope of employing the future talent behind Telefonica.
The company hopes to mimic the ‘Steve Jobs’ effect and help boost Europe’s economy, creating a new ecosystem of technology companies. Search Office Space is hopeful that the Wayra project will be as successful here in London as it has been for Spain and Latin America.