The 13 lucky startups who made the shortlist for 2014 are:
01 Team-MatchWeb analytics for teams to enhance performance by assessing personalities and strengths & weaknesses.
02 GeniusMatcherHardware free indoor navigation using computer vision and 3D — initially focusing on digitally recreating shopping malls.
03 Virtually Free
03 Virtually FreeDevelops games and gamification designed to improve mental health problems.
04 AprefisHelps companies increase margins and profitability through big-data pricing algorithms, with a focus on making this type of analytics accessible to smaller companies.
05 RunnitMobile app that rewards users with discounts and free products for going running.
06 MedArkiveDigital delivery and hosting for copyright protected content licensed and distributed to the medical community.
07 Tonguesten Rebeats
07 Tonguesten RebeatsMusic/film/text platform for learning languages and literacy skills, powered by original artificial intelligence and metadata.
08 Living Indie
08 Living IndieAim's to be the ‘Netflix of live concerts’, doing live streaming of gigs in HD.
09 Skim.itSocial news application to create personalised news feeds and present the data in a summarised format (which sounds rather like Summly).
10 GeneixHealthcare startup combining big data and genetics to work towards personalised medicine.
11 LobsterUser content marketplace to buy/license photos from Instagram, Flickr, audio, videos, text.
12 PaperfoldNew visual email concept, initially for iPad, but planned for multi devices.
13 RepresentOnline portfolio platform for school leavers that lets them create a showcase for their skills that’s more visual than a CV (a ‘visual LinkedIn’).
The selection was cut down from 27 to the final cut, Lobster had been selected from a reserve list after one of the original finalists pulled out. All the finalist had to go through pitching rounds faced by a panel of judges during a session called “Wayra Week” The selection requirements from the judges for startups to win a place on the program in Wayra’s London Academy and a prize of up to 50,000 Euros was set around five key criteria, innovation, size of opportunity, strategic fit, maturity and risk. The strategic fit segment of the criteria is directly aligned to Wayra’s parent company, global phone carrier Telefonica. Despite Telefonica having a huge customer base this is the new angle the company is using to create innovative new ideas to engage and tap consumers.
Wayra acts as a work around for Telefonica as a sort of active think tank for plugging the new ideas gap. Essentially a talent outsource through a global network of Wayra academies, now 14 in 12 countries.
The Wayra academy footprint is as follows: Bogotá, Caracas, Mexico City, Lima, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Barcelona, London, São Paulo, Santiago, Dublin, Prague and Munich.
Currently Wayra U.K has not released any information on the total number of applicants to its London academy this year and available information suggests it has had a cumulative total of 23,000 applications to date across its entire network of academy’s. This does seem rather poor in contrast to performance with other accelerators that are based in London. One example is an accelerator program called seedcamp which has run a startup boot camp for over 7 years. They also released a significant amount of their performance data last year, stating it had received 2,000 in 2013 alone. Meanwhile another London based program called Oxygen accelerator had far fewer with only 310 last year. According to TechStars it received 1,302 applications from over 72 different countries, now that’s a brand with global pull.
What’s not clearly identifiable is how much drive Wayra U.K. is producing in attracting new startups who are keen to share their best ideas and hand over a portion of their business in return for a small investment, a bit of business acumen and the chance to pitch to a room full of Investors and Venture Capital firms when the time comes for sourcing further funding.