In recent news, Telefonica, a telecommunications giant from Spain, has begun scouting startups based in the State of Israel. The reason behind this is to seek out those businesses that are working on disruptive technologies in a large number of areas, such as education, digital health, mobility, and homes. Thus, it has assigned its innovation division, namely Wayra X to handle this search. While these sectors may appear to be beyond the scope and interests of a large telecommunications firm, Telefonica believes in innovation. As of now, it is the largest telecommunications company in all of Europe and is one of the top 10 across the world. It has no less than 350 customers but is still looking to expand its horizons.
The head of Wayra X, Luisa Rubio, stated in a videoconference interview that the telecommunications giant is hoping to think outside the box and discover innovation in a variety of countries and fields. She went on to add that the tech ecosystem in the Jewish state is one of the first that Wayra X has decided to look into, mainly because of the strong entrepreneurship witnessed in the country. In addition, the company lauded the real tech application to real problems of Israel. The investment hub of the telecommunications giant had been set up in late 2020. The primary aim of the wing had been to provide support to digital-first startups in their early stages.
Consequently, Wayra X made its first-ever investment in a startup in Israel when it started operating. Wayra X participated in an investment of $1.6 million, which it allocated to Upword. The startup that received the support is a Tel Aviv outfit that successfully developed AI-powered reading productivity and summarization tool. This investment was the first of the handful of those made by Wayra X in its first two years of operations. On the other hand, Wayra has been operating as an accelerator program. It has worked with no less than 800 startups in around 30 countries, which have helped it generate revenue of around $300 million since the year 2011.
Back then, the innovation arm had first been established. Wayra X had been set up to allow Telefonica to move towards B2C mass markets, especially in areas pertaining to e-health, 5G, e-learning, entertainment, smart home, and mobility etc. Through the seven hubs that it has located in no less than 10 countries, such as Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the UK, Wayra X seeks to provide support to companies and entrepreneurs who are hoping to resolve difficult challenges. Thus, it hopes to bring about improvement in the lives of the people by incorporating innovative technology into their daily lives.
Rubio went on to say that in B2C markets, technology and innovation is not always obvious. There are numerous marketplaces that have the required interfaces but lack the necessary technology. Therefore, Wayra X hopes to deliver a real and meaningful impact for all customers that it serves.