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Wayra invests 4.5 million euros in 39 startups in 2020

In 2020, Wayra, Telefónica’s open innovation hub, invested a total of 4.5 million euros in 39 startups in Europe and Latin America. Out of that global amount, 1.8 million euros were invested in 15 startups in Spain, 29% more than in the previous year. The projects are related to artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, video, virtual reality, cybersecurity, connectivity, data analytics and fintech.

Wayra is thus reinforcing its objective of investing in technological startups in keeping with Telefónica’s strategic projects. Wayra’s participation totals up to €250,000 per company, helping them to develop business with the group and connect with Telefónica’s key business areas. Wayra Spain’s investments are as follows:

  1. Countercraft: Wayra is once again investing in this startup from San Sebastián, a pioneer in counter-intelligence and cyber deception products to detect targeted attacks. The startup already has a long-standing professional relationship with Telefónica, has recently signed an important agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense and forms part of the portfolio of Telefónica Tech Ventures.
  1. Ludus: originally from Bilbao, this platform pivoted from the development of video games to its successful business model: industry and emergency training via virtual reality. It provides professionals with the possibility of practising protocols of action in high-risk situations on a regular basis. This is also a reinvestment.
  1. Kymatio: this is a SaaS (Software as a Service) that identifies, analyses and provides everything required to manage employees’ cyber risks. Developed in Madrid, its solution has become more relevant than ever in protecting employees within the context of teleworking. Kymatio also forms part of the portfolio of Telefónica Tech Ventures.
  1. Proppos: this Catalan startup is developing a smart and autonomous self-payment system for canteens, cafeterias and fast food restaurants. Proppos recognises products by means of AI and accelerates the shopping experience.
  1. Humanox: this is the creator of the world’s first connected smart shin guards. It’s capable of processing more than 50,000 items of data per training session or match and provides players with more than 40 metrics designed to improve their sporting performance and healthcare. It is  headquartered in Cádiz.
  1. Pridatect: its aim is to simplify companies’ privacy compliance via its platform and its GDPR and data protection software. Pridatect forms part of the portfolio of Telefónica Tech Ventures.
  1. Galgus: this startup is committed to providing a faster Wi-Fi connection. Its Cognitive Hotspot Technology (CHT) optimises the efficiency of Wi-Fi access points and routers, thus increasing the Wi-Fi performance by up to five times. It plays a key role in boosting connectivity in remote and sparsely populated areas.
  1. Kenmei: this company from Valencia provides autonomous solutions for mobile network operators. It’s developed a network intelligence solution that brings automation to the classification, segmentation and resolution of network problems at different operational levels.
  1. Alias Robotics: originally from Vitoria-Gasteiz, this startup’s goal is to ensure cybersecurity solutions safety for robots. Its products include the RIS (Robot Immune System), which protects robots from malware, and Alurity, which simplifies the search for cybersecurity. Alias Robotics forms part of the portfolio of Telefónica Tech Ventures.
  1. Payflow: created in Barcelona in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, this startup enables the employees of a company to collect the fraction of the salary they’ve already earned whenever they choose, instead of collecting it in full at the end of the month.
  1. YBVR: based in Silicon Valley and with operations in four countries, this startup that Wayra is once again investing in specialises in immersive virtual reality experiences. It achieves the monetisation of virtual tickets for e.g. sporting events, allowing the fans to be transported to the match to watch it from the front row.

In 2020, Telefónica also launched two initiatives to complement the company’s open innovation strategy. They’re Wayra Builder, a corporate Venture Builder whose aim is to capitalise on Telefónica’s talent and in-house technology to create innovative startups together with external investors, and Wayra X, Wayra’s first fully digital hub designed to invest in 100% digital startups on a global scale.

Wayra X has invested in the following projects:

  1. Peoople: this is an app for learning more about the tips of friends and popular influencers on different topics, including books, restaurants, music and all kinds of experiences. It’s based in Madrid.
  1. Blabla: this is an online education platform which, by means of short videos, helps students of English to connect with content produced by native speakers with the aid of AI and Machine Learning. In this case it’s from Shanghai.
  1. Nannyfy: this Barcelona startup realigned its service with the arrival of COVID-19, shifting from being an offline marketplace for nannies and caregivers to launching Nannify TV and revolutionising the virtual learning and care of children under twelve
  1. Suscrip: the app for sharing direct debit payments among several people (rentals, internet, subscriptions to streaming platforms, etc.), linking them to a bank account and simplifying the debts with previously authorised automatic payments.

2020 was also the year in which two startups partly owned by Wayra were incorporated into the company for the first time. Telefónica Tech acquired Govertis and iHacklabs in order to enhance its cybersecurity capabilities by incorporating entrepreneurial talent.

In turn, Wayra reinforced its commitment to the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the signing of strategic agreements with key players in the startup world, including Lanzadera, The Venture City, Startup Valencia, Seedrocket and BStartup, the promoters of the Venture on the Road initiative, a unique roadshow designed to provide access to investors and networking in different Spanish cities.

“Part of the economic recovery of our societies in 2021 will involve the massive reinvention and digitisation of sectors that are key to people’s daily lives. Entrepreneurs capable of solving the daily problems of millions of people will be placed centre stage this year, with numerous opportunities to expand on a global scale”, explained Andrés Saborido, global head of Wayra. “At Wayra we’re looking forward to 2021 with optimism, committed to startups more than ever before”.
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