5 essentials tech incubator Wayra is looking for

Wayra is a new incubator for tech and digital start-ups. With two days left to apply, Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra Europe, gives Startups an overview of the programme – and some tips on what it is they’re looking for

This is my dream job. It’s a privilege to bring Wayra over from Latin America to Europe. Creating and launching the London academy is hugely exciting for me, for the team, for O2 and for Telefónica.

You may have seen us recently out and about in London, meeting the remarkable talent in places like Shoreditch and Tech City. At these events I’m often asked what it is Wayra is looking for in a start-up and how a tech entrepreneur can make their application stand out. To be really clear, the final selection is determined by an independent panel of judges which neither me nor my team are a part of. But if I were to offer advice it would be:

1) Passion and belief – I’ve met thousands of tech entrepreneurs over the years and I’m always drawn to those people who demonstrate a burning passion and unrelenting belief in their idea. Applicants that can bring their passion to life in their application won’t go far wrong.

2) Financing – So you know you’ve got a great idea and you’re determined to make it happen. But can you demonstrate that it’s financially viable in the long-term? A great idea that’s not grounded in financial reality will likely come unstuck at the first hurdle.

3) Skills – We are looking for people who can demonstrate that they (and their team) have the core competencies and capabilities to execute their plan. That doesn’t mean you need to have worked in a related industry for 10 years, but it doesn’t hurt to make a play of your relevant skill-set.

4) The team – My intuitive preference is orientated towards great ideas backed by brilliant teams. We’re absolutely willing to select individuals – our job at Wayra is to accelerate them, whether they operate solo or as a group. In the application form you can upload a video to show us what you or you and your team are like.

5) The idea – I am often asked what type of business and sector we are most interested in. The easy answer is to highlight some of the prominent high growth areas such as e-health, e-learning or m-commerce. The truth is, however, that some of my favourite projects currently include a device which detects the fertility of cows and a pioneering med tech project based around an Xbox. My advice would be if you have a tech idea that excites you, then go for it.

Whether you’re a fledgling start-up with a great idea, or an established tech entrepreneur with up to two years’ trading under your belt, we want to hear from you. Applications to Wayra close midnight on 22 April. For more information about Wayra and to apply, visit www.wayra.org/en, or tweet us @WayraUK

To find out more about how Wayra works, check out the video below:

Simon Devonshire is director of Wayra Europe. Wayra is a Telefónica Digital initiative whose main aim is to identify and nurture tech and digital start-ups in Latin America and Europe. Wayra is currently present in eight other countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela), and is currently hosting 80 start-ups. Since its inception, Wayra has received more than 6,000 applications around the globe. 



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