Wayra Ireland Accelerator Programme to Shut Down

Gonzalo Martin-Villa, Global Director of Wayra, Telefonica Digital; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; and Tony Hanway, CEO, Telefonica Ireland pictured at the launch of Wayra Ireland in 2012

Wayra, Telefónica’s startup accelerator, has announced that it will close its academy in Dublin this June, once the current cohort of nine startups has completed the programme.

The decision was confirmed by the Managing Director of Wayra Ireland, Karl Aherne, in an email to the organisation’s email subscribers this morning.

Telefónica has today confirmed that Wayra Ireland will close on May 31 at the end of the current acceleration programme. Wayra Ireland is a leading performer amongst the 14 Wayra accelerators and has assisted its 30 startup investments to raise over €11m in third party funds, create over 100 full-time PAYE jobs and drive significant corporate engagement with dozens of corporate contracts. However Telefónica has decided that proximity to a local Telefonica operating business is a key component in delivering commercial return to Telefónica and since the sale of O2 Ireland, Wayra Ireland no longer benefits from that proximity.

Spanish telco Telefónica sold its Irish business, O2 Ireland, to Hutchison Whampoa, operating as Three Ireland, in a deal which was finalised last July. Last month the O2 brand began its transition to Three.

Mr Aherne continued:

The Wayra Ireland team is very proud of the achievements of our startups and will continue to help drive their success over the coming months. After our closure in May, the Wayra Ireland startups will continue to benefit through support from Wayra in London and Wayra Global in Madrid.

Just last night, Wayra Ireland’s centre on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay played host to a startup event with Dublin’s Startup Commisioner Niamh Bushnell.

Here’s a video recently published by Wayra Ireland from their mentor evening held last month.



A statement on the Wayra Ireland website explains:

Wayra grows businesses by leveraging the local Telefónica operating business in each Country. Following the sale of Telefónica Ireland, Ltd, the Company has agreed to finish the Wayra programme in Ireland and to focus on the strategic regions in which Telefónica operates.

Hutchison Whampoa also recently announced plans to buy O2 UK from Telefónica for US$13.6bn.

HT: Damien Mulley

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