Telefonica opens Wayra academy in London

Around 20 start-ups will be given the opportunity to base themselves in the shiny new 'Wayra academy' for six months. In exchange, Telefonica will take around a 10% stake in each business for up to £50,000 in funding, after six months Telefonica will then help them pitch for further funding.

Director of Wayra in Europe, Simon Devonshire said, "London is a global centre of innovation and through Wayra we hope to find the Facebooks and Zyngas of the future."

If the start-up doesn't find extra investment in the six months, then Telefonica will allow them to stay for another stint.

By stumping up the initial cash, Telefonica will also get first refusal on all the companies. Which means the founders already have a potential buyer before they've even launched.

Applicants for the program can from today untill April 22 submit their ideas or projects by completing a form at www.wayra.org. They will then be filtered down to a shortlist and will pitch during a Wayra week in late May to win a place in the new London office on Tottenham Court Road.

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