Boris Johnson opens Telefonica’s London Wayra academy


London Mayor opens Telefonica’s 10th incubator, which provides space in central London for 16 startups to develop products and services

London Mayor Boris Johnson today (June 29) opened Telefonica’s London Wayra academy, an incubator designed to support startup companies developing new technologies and products for mobile.

The 13,000 square foot London academy is the 10th Wayra academy opened by Telefonica.

Existing academies are already open in Madrid, Barcelona, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and Brazil.

Telefonica has chosen 16 companies to work at its central London academy, and provided each with £30,000 of startup capital to help fund their projects.

Telefonica gets first refusal on products developed by the startups, but has not tied them into exclusivity contracts and is actively seeking outside investors to help provide further funding.

Johnson (pictured left) said: “The Wayra Academy is a fantastic initiative that will harness precisely the kind of creativity and entrepreneurship we need to create jobs and drive economic growth.

“Home to some of the finest minds in innovation and design, London’s digital sector has huge potential to create jobs for Londoners and grow the capital’s economy. This is why we must do everything we can to help people who want to start their own businesses turn their ideas into reality.

“I wish all those who come through the Academy’s doors the very best of luck as they nurture their ideas into fully fledged companies with the potential to offer vital employment opportunities for Londoners and a huge boost to our economy.”

Competitions are under way to choose startups that will work at new academies being set up in Belfast and Munich.

O2 CEO Ronan Dunne (pictured right0 said: “Growth in Europe is predicated on nurturing the skills and talent of future generations. As a digital services business, our success depends on identifying and backing great ideas and unleashing the positive potential of young people and technology.

“We’re well positioned to do so by bringing Wayra academies to Germany and Ireland in the next twelve months.”