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Wayra is a global technological innovation hub, which was started in Latin America and Spain in 2011 as an initiative of Telefónica's chief executive in Europe, José María Álvarez-Pallete. Wayra is the interface connecting Telefónica and the world's technological innovators supporting their projects as strategic partners to accelerate the businesses of both. Wayra operates through 11 hubs in 10 countries within Telefónica’s footprint: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
Wayra started in Colombia in mid 2011 and expanded to ten more countries that year. In 2013, there were 14 Wayra academies in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America and Telefónica planned to support about 350 startups altogether. In March 2015, Telefónica closed down the Wayra in Prague, as part of Telefónica's general exit from that market. In 2015, Volo, which had been started at the Munich Wayra, was sold to Rocket Internet.
It's UK branch is based in London and is managed by Gary Stewart. Wayra UK has partnered up with a global healthcare company Novartis to create a programme to attract Health Tech start-ups, the National Cyber Security Centre to attract cyber security start-ups, University of Edinburgh to create an accelerator for AI and blockchain start-ups. The UK branch has also created an Intelligent Mobility accelerator which has chosen to support Spark, an AI start-up.
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