Startups

Meet The 13 Startups Wayra U.K. Is Accelerating In 2014

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Wayra U.K. is still a relative newbie to the London startup accelerator scene, opening its doors back in May 2012 for its first intake. Last year’s cohort included journaling app Narrato and lesbian dating service Dattch, to name two of the 17.

Today Wayra U.K. is naming its third intake that will be hothoused through the circa nine-month mentoring programme centrally based, near London’s Goodge Street.

The 13 startups that made the cut for the 2014 intake are:

  • Geneix — healthcare startup combining big data and genetics to work towards personalised medicine.
  • Team-Match — web analytics for teams to enhance performance by assessing personalities and strengths & weaknesses.
  • Virtually Free — develops games and gamification designed to improve mental health problems.
  • Aprefis — helps companies increase margins and profitability through big-data pricing algorithms, with a focus on making this type of analytics accessible to smaller companies.
  • Skim.it — social news application to create personalised news feeds and present the data in a summarised format (which sounds rather like Summly).
  • Living Indie — wants to be the ‘Netflix of live concerts’, doing live streaming of gigs in HD.
  • GeniusMatcher — hardware free indoor navigation using computer vision and 3D — initially focusing on digitally recreating shopping malls.
  • Paperfold — a new inbox concept, initially for iPad.
  • Tonguesten Rebeats — a music/film/text platform for learning languages and literacy skills, powered by original artificial intelligence and metadata.
  • MedArkive — digital delivery and hosting for copyright protected content licensed and
    distributed to the medical community.
  • Represent — an online portfolio platform for school leavers that lets them create a showcase for their skills that’s more visual than a CV (aka a ‘visual LinkedIn’).
  • Runnit — a mobile app that rewards users with discounts and free products for going running.
  • Lobster — a user content marketplace to buy/license photos from Instagram, Flickr, audio, videos, text.

The startups were whittled down from a shortlist of 27 — one of which  (Lobster) was sourced from a reserve list and stepped in to pitch in place of a finalist that dropped out. The shortlisted startups pitched the judges earlier this week and today during Wayra Week. (The startups that did not make the cut are listed at the end of this article).

Judging criteria for selecting which startups bagged a space in Wayra’s London academy — and the up to 50,000 Euros in funding that comes with it — focused on five factors: opportunity size, maturity, strategic fit, risk and innovation.

The strategic fit portion of the criteria refers to Wayra’s parent company, the global carrier Telefonica. What’s a hoary old mobile operator doing accelerating startups? Well, despite having massive customer bases to sell stuff to, carriers have typically been terrible at coming up with innovative new ideas that engage consumers. Telefonica’s workaround for plugging this ideas gap is thus to outsource “talent detection” to a global network of Wayra academies — which now extends to 14 academies in 12 countries.

(The full Wayra academy footprint is as follows: Bogotá, Caracas, Mexico City, Lima, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Barcelona, London, São Paulo, Santiago, Dublin, Prague and Munich.)

Unfortunately Wayra U.K. would not disclose how many applications its London academy received this year, saying only that across its entire network of academies it’s had a cumulative total of 23,000 applications to date (see our recent delve into Wayra’s numbers as a whole). Which is, as my TC colleague Steve O’Hear judiciously observed, “lame” in terms of putting its performance in context with other London accelerators.

Seedcamp, for instance, which has been running its bootcamp programme since 2007, released a swathe of data on its performance last September — at which point it said it had received 2,000 applications in 2013 alone.

Meanwhile, the newly-relocated-to-London Oxygen accelerator (unsurprisingly) had far fewer applications — just 310 — to its programme last year. And although also a newcomer to London, TechStars, which held its debut Demo Day in the U.K. capital last September, drew in 1,302 applications from 72 different countries — demonstrating the global pull of the TechStars brand.

It remains unclear how much traction Wayra U.K. is getting in attracting startups willing to hand over a portion of their business — and share their best ideas — in exchange for a little business acumen, a little investment and the chance to pitch a roomful of VCs and investors when the time comes to seek more money. But it’s worth noting that the size of the 2014 intake is smaller than the 17 startups that Wayra U.K. incubated last year.

The new Wayra U.K. cohort will take up their desks in the London academy on February 17.

The shortlisted startups that did not make the cut this time were:

  • Zave App — Allows users to save and send money to an account by rounding up their bills.
  • Aeroline — Provides a web-based solution that reduces the cost and risk of aerospace companies when conducting the approval of their suppliers.
  • Aire Score — A better credit scoring system for individuals, built ground up using newer data and algorithms.
  • Temptster — Über of the hospitality world.
  • StockFlare — The most user-friendly App that helps you make better investment decisions.
  • BitPoster — Ad exchange for the digital billboard market.
  • Student Tutors — A tutoring platform for university students to tutor in subjects related to their degree.
  • The LMS App — elearning at your fingertips
  • ThumbTags — Making online images shoppable, engaging and interactive, generating revenue for publishers.
  • Avuxi — ‘Klout’ for place – visualised on a map and with augmented reality.
  • 6 Degrees of Sound — A new way of listening to music: interact with musical instruments in an auditory virtual environment.
  • DadzClub — An online social platform for dads in the UK.
  • Awesome.bi — Not a business intelligence tool, but a cloud based retail ‘action tool’.
  • Mobiloud — Native mobile app publishing platform for small content publishers.

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