Gain market insights and brand recognition
In 2013, Telefónica Open Future, a division of the Spanish multinational telecommunications company Telefónica, partnered with the Government of the United Kingdom to support the growth of socially innovative start-up ventures. Through Wayra UnLtd, the country’s first accelerator facility for digital technology social ventures, the partnership offered seed funding, coaching and mentoring, and access to Telefónica Open Future’s global network of more than 600 start-ups and 60 partnerships across 17 countries.
Ventures supported by the facility are working on innovative mobile or digital solutions that serve the company’s existing and future customer base. They include Roadio, which created mobile technology to improve the way people learn to drive, and WeFarm, a peer-to-peer platform that offers vital information on farming practices to over 43,000 farmers in some parts of Latin America, where Telefónica has significant business operations.
Wayra UnLtd’s social ventures raised $12.5 million in third-party investment. Its successful financial performance placed the accelerator programme at the top of rankings by the Social Incubator Fund, a UK Government facility that supports social incubators and accelerators in the country. In 2015, Wayra UK partnered with Merck Sharp & Dohme, a global healthcare company, to launch Velocity Health, an accelerator that supports start-ups that are designing preventative healthcare delivery models.
The acceleration Telefónica provides to the social ventures has created measurable social outcomes. At the same time, the company benefits from new ideas, market insights, brand recognition and consumer engagement.
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