Wayra passes on as accelerator… To be reborn as CVC fund in Latam

Wayra said it wants to operate as a corporate venture capital fund.
wayra to operate as corporate venture capital investor in latam

ContxtoWayra in Spanish-speaking Latam is done. It’s over. Kaput. Absolutely and positively done… being an accelerator.

And that’s because last week, leadership announced that Wayra would officially become a corporate venture capital (CVC) fund.

As a result of these changes, the venture arm of multinational Telefónica, will no longer be accelerating early-stage startups. Instead, it will aim to fund more medium-sized tech companies.

Correspondingly, it will want to participate in pre-Series A or Series A rounds and pitch up to €250,000 (~US$294,000) per ticket.

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Why now, Wayra?

Telefónica’s accelerator launched in Latam around eight years ago. Since then, its program has worked with multiple companies including fintechs Kubo and ADDI, edtech Poliglota, as well as logistics startups SimpliRoute and Chazki.

Many of these enterprises have moved on to raise funding of their own and scale.

This means its startups’ projects are being validated elsewhere but other third-party investors are getting a better seat at the table. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Wayra is moving forward as a CVC.

“Unlike what we did before, today our objective is to tell the companies we invest in: ‘I’m your partner and I’m going to help you grow’,” said Agustín Rotondo, Wayra’s new Regional Manager for Spanish-speaking Latam. 

This is both for the benefit of the startups and any interests or projects Telefónica might have with them. 

By aiming for more mid-sized companies, Wayra is mitigating the risk of investing in younger, more volatile projects. It also places it at a key moment to shape what will ultimately become of that company. 

Meaning it’s easier for Telefónica to acquire a startup further down the road if it proves interesting enough.

For some time now, large multinationals have been—literally and figuratively—quite invested in startups through CVCs. These smaller companies bring the agility, while corporations bring the business and experience.

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