Founded2011; 13 years ago (2011) in Colombia
FounderJosé María Álvarez-Pallete

Wayra is a 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.[1][2] 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.[3]

In 2013, there were 14 Wayra academies in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America.[4][2]

In March 2015, Telefónica closed down the Wayra in Prague, as a part of Telefónica's general exit from that market.[5]

In 2015, Volo, which had been started at the Munich Wayra, was sold to the Rocket Internet.[6]

Its UK branch is based in London and was managed by Gary Stewart till 2019. A new country manager, Bruno Vidal Sa De Moraes, took over in February 2020.[7]

Wayra UK has partnered up with a healthcare company Novartis to support Health Tech start-ups,[8] the National Cyber Security Centre,[9] University of Edinburgh to create an accelerator for AI and blockchain start-ups.[10][11] Based at the Bayes Centre, this programme is a collaboration between Wayra UK and The University of Edinburgh’s Data-Driven Innovation Initiative. Since its launch the programme has welcomed two cohorts featuring 20 data-driven start-ups. Between them they have raised over £3m in investment with a combined valuation of over £12m. The UK branch has also created an Intelligent Mobility accelerator which has chosen to support Spark, an AI start-up.[12]


  1. ^ Solon, Olivia (7 March 2012), "Telefónica invites UK startups to join accelerator programme Wayra", Wired
  2. ^ a b Michel Syrett, Marion Devine (2014), "6. Creating a talent eco-system", Managing Talent: Recruiting, Retaining and Getting the Most from Talented People, Profile Books, ISBN 9781847658104
  3. ^ Emma Jones (2013), 50 Ways to Find Funding for Your Business, Harriman House, p. 49, ISBN 9780857192905
  4. ^ John Kennedy (25 July 2013). "Telefónica's Wayra accelerator in Dublin reveals shortlist of start-ups for second intake". Silicon Republic.
  5. ^ "Wayra CEE to end operations in March". Wayra CEE.
  6. ^ "Rocket Internet Acquires Restaurant Delivery Service Volo". Techcrunch.
  7. ^ Margolis, Jonathan (21 June 2019). "Most start-up businesses are doomed". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  8. ^ "Virtue, TestCard and ExSeed join Novartis & Wayra UK health tech accelerator". MobiHealthNews. 2019-03-04. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  9. ^ "Next Gen Startups to Partner with National Cyber Security Centre". www.ncsc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  10. ^ "Wayra UK and University of Edinburgh to launch new AI and Blockchain Accelerator". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  11. ^ "University of Edinburgh & Wayra UK Launch AI & Blockchain Accelerator Programme – The Data Lab". Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  12. ^ "AI start-up Spark selected for Wayra UK/Transport Systems Catapult Intelligent mobility Accelerator | Manufacturing & Logistics IT Magazine". www.logisticsit.com. Retrieved 2019-07-02.