How has the Corona pandemic and its consequences affected Wayra's startups so far?

January 25, 2021
2 min read
Despite all the difficulties that 2020 brought, we were more successful than ever with our Acceleration Program. And this, although we had to do without, among other things, our program's core, our physical hub - our central location for collaborative interaction in Munich.

How has the Corona pandemic and its consequences affected Wayra's startups so far?

At wayra Germany, we connect startups with Telefónica to create a customer relationship between the corporation and the startup. So not only do our startups work with a large multinational and get to apply their solution in a real enterprise environment, but they also generate actual revenue in the process. Even in times of Corona, Telefónica continues to focus on innovative technologies, and the topic of digitalization has tended to move up the plan in the pandemic.

 

Despite all the difficulties that 2020 brought, we were more successful than ever with our Acceleration Program

And this, although we had to do without, among other things, our program's core, our physical hub - our central location for collaborative interaction in Munich. Some of the startups have received follow-up contracts from Telefónica to support the development despite Corona. Since we only include startups in ourAcceleration Program that offer digital solutions and are already working with customers on the market, the pandemic did not hit us quite hard.

Only our startups in the retail area are experiencing delays as they work with our physical stores, which must remain closed.However, we can see that digital solutions are receiving more attention than ever before. Companies are currently investing massively in digitalization, and new approaches to solutions are receiving much more attention, even if they are not yet fully mature.

Remote work

Fortunately, we, the team at wayra Germany and many of the startups, were already well-positioned digitally in our day-to-day work, and the switch to remote work was not all that difficult. Nevertheless, it is a significant loss when the community with resident startups on-site disappears from one day to the next. Some startups have experienced problems in our community that were running events and coaching sessions. Events and coaching are down overall because meetings can no longer be held in person. But again, we are working together to find solutions and use our network to create digital exchange opportunities. For example, as recently as last December, we hosted a digital conference where startups, established corporations, and investors could virtually exchange ideas.

Has the pandemic changed priorities for collaborations and investments?

 

We are keeping our investment strategy unchanged, so our priorities in the area will not change. We continue to invest in late-stage to Series A startups in IoT, cybersecurity, 5G, and many more in Europe andIsrael.

The wayra Germany team mitigated the startups' uncertainties in the best possible way. Among other things, we were able to guarantee that contracts and payouts would not be affected by Corona. In addition, wayra Germany set up a crisis fund to invest in startups that were hit hard by Corona despite the great potential for success. The security we can provide as a hub in times like the current pandemic has an overall attractive effect on the interest of startups to become part of our ecosystem.

What does the German and European startup landscape need to come out of the current crisis in good shape?

 

We believe that we need to start helping Germany andEurope at a much earlier stage. On the one hand, we should examine how we can better support founders at the beginning of their careers, such as universities and other educational institutions. At many crucial interfaces, the conditions are not optimal, and professors or even public sector employees often lack the know-how for startup projects. Better conditions can be created here, e.g.through semesters of leave for those willing to start up or through actions that help ensure that the unique situations of startups are better understood in the offices and that appreciation increases.

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About Wayra Germany

Wayra Germany is the Open Innovation Hub of telecommunications group Telefónica. As an early-stage investment arm, Wayra Germany scales technology-oriented start-ups. The focus is on the venture client model, which enables start-ups from the fields of Internet of Things, data analytics, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence to win Telefónica as customers for products and solutions - while offering unique access to the infrastructure of the global telecommunications company. Telefónica, in turn, benefits from the innovative ideas of the start-ups, on the one hand, to improve processes within the Telefónica Group and, on the other hand, to develop new products for Telefónica brands. Wayra Germany was recently named Germany's best digital lab of a corporate group by Infront Consulting and the business magazine Capital.
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