WAYRA Accelerator

This article is written by Nardine B. M’barek, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Marcus Trotter is an entrepreneur and an innovation specialist at Deutsche Bank and one ofBusiness Insider’s UK Fintech 35 under 35.  He helps the investment bank identify the most promising startup to work with, and previously worked at Telefonica’s tech accelerator Wayra in the UK.

Mr. Marcus Trotter identifies himself as a ‘random’ entrepreneur, he studies history and modern languages at university. He set up his own enterprise called DebateMate which now operates across the world, they are concerned with teaching disadvantaged children how to debate as well as how to climb up the ranks of social mobility thanks to their skills. He then joined Telefonica and realized that as a company, they had a lot of challenges they needed to overcome and deal with, and that is where Wayra comes and helps them out.

Wayra is Telefonica’s window to innovation, it is something that the team embarked on around 2011, and through which they have achieved numerous goals and aims. Wayra is considered to be the largest accelerator program on the entire earth. As of 2014, they had over 22 thousand applicants from all over the world.

However, even with the very high number of applicants that they receive every day, it is important to mention that not all of them are accepted, but rather only 1.4% of those applicants actually get in. Always speaking of the same year, 2014, in which they have established over 300 startups across the globe, which makes almost one startup established every single minute.

Of those startups, they have got around 60% across Latin America, and 40% across Europe. Of those numbers, 65% have graduated and 45% are in acceleration. They also have academies across those cities where they have established startups, and as a funding source, they have invested more than 13 Million Euro in 2014.

When it comes to their entrepreneurs, Mr. Trotter mentioned that there is a huge difference between the number of male entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs; while male entrepreneurs make up to 80% of the total number of entrepreneurs who joined Wayra, female entrepreneurs only make up to 20%, which is something that they want to absolutely change by offering equal opportunities to both women and men, and trying to make women participate more in the field of business and entrepreneurship, as well as through promoting Wayra even more especially for women, so that the numbers could change a little bit, and women get more chances and more opportunities in order to become what they which to be and achieve their dreams just like men are capable of doing.

Mr. Trotter spoke about what their startups achieve on a funding basis. So, on a funding basis – as he said – 50% of the graduates who graduated from the Academy of Wayra were able to raise third-party funding. The average in Europe is just over half a million US Dollars, but in total as a collection portfolio, and in just two years, their startups were able to raise up to $56 US Dollars.

This means that they are actually making traction, and able to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves, as well as establishing successful startups.  They do have a long way to go, and are planning to work on that furthermore.

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