23.03.2018 O2-backed technology accelerator Wayra UK expanded offering to help UK start-ups grow

23.03.2018 O2-backed technology accelerator Wayra UK expanded offering to help UK start-ups grow

Wayra UK, a world leading start-up accelerator backed by Telefonica, has announced it plans to support the UK’s digital start-ups with a view to create a ‘truly mobile Britain’. Wayra UK will run new acceleration programmes across the UK, which will focus on transport technology, cyber security and reducing poverty.

The new programmes it has announced include a new Intelligent Mobility Accelerator, based in Milton Keynes, supporting transport solutions; the Wayra Fair By Design programme; and partnership with the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator.

Wayra Fair By Design programme, based in Oldham, will support tech start-ups a year who are focused on doing social good such as helping those in financial hardship of reducing the poverty premium.

Wayra UK will also contribute to the activities of cyber security start-ups: Wayra has announced the continuation of its partnership with the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, which allows it to offer an increased financial support and longer nine-month tenure to cyber security businesses. Nine cyber security start-ups, focusing on online security issues and threats, have been selected to join the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, powered by Wayra UK. The new group of nine companies will now benefit from a nine-month period at the accelerator, and will each receive increased funding of £25,000. They will also receive support in a form of high-quality mentoring and business services, office space, and access to GCHQ, NCSC and Telefónica’s world-class personnel and technical expertise.

Mark Evans, CEO, O2 said: ‘Britain’s small business and start-up economy is thriving and mobile is at its heart – you can now start a business in minutes using the power of mobile. As a business whose success has been built on a mobile-first strategy, we know the benefits mobile connectivity can deliver for the UK and at O2 we have already benefited hugely from the innovative thinking and great business ideas that Wayra UK has connected us to.’

Alongside O2, Wayra UK is backed by a number of major companies including MSD, ASOS, and GCHQ. Since it was founded in 2012, Wayra UK has helped over 160 start-ups raise over $150 million in third-party funding.

Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK, said: ‘These new programmes show that Wayra UK is reaching a new level in supporting UK start-ups.

Our support goes beyond just funding, we’re also giving them access to the scale and expertise of Telefonica, including access to coaches and mentors. In return, we benefit from innovations that help boost the economy through profits, job creation and creating cost savings, as well as providing valuable data and insights’.

Mark Evans concluded:  ‘As we look to power the next five years of start-up success, we know that mobile is the key to unlocking successful innovation. Of all the ingredients that keep our economy and society moving, arguably top of the list is Mobile.’