Sixteen British start-ups, from every area of online innovation, social networking and business, have been selected from over 1000 applicants to join Telefonica’s tech accelerator programme, Wayra, which will be based in central London
Following a final three-day pitch, in front of nine judges, the winning business ideas were chosen. They will each receive up to 50,000 euros in investment, with Wayra taking a 10% stake.
The winning bids range from a social network to store and timeline memories and a tool aiming to replace passwords with pictures to a real-time dating service and an educational teaching tool. However, Gonzalo Martín-Villa, global Wayra director, said that finding good teams was just as difficult as good ideas.
"If the team was put together just for this, that's not good," he told the Huffington post, "If they were old friends or knew each other at university, that's a good signifier."
Another inaccurate stereotype is that people behind online start-ups tend to be very young; the average age of UK Wayra applicants was 32.
The winners in full are:
• Hiyalife Ltd: A new social network to log, store and timeline your memories.
• CloudBlocks: An 'app store' with tools for businesses to manage servers.
• Chatterbox Analytics: A tool to help businesses identify and manage online brand advocates and to discover engagement
• TaskHub: An online community hub and social marketplace to advertise your errands and odd jobs to neighbourhood service providers.
• MakeLight Interactive: Turns people, via their mobiles, into pixels by creating a giant screen across the crowd at live events.
• TrueView: A real-time dating app to update information and interact with other users without profiles becoming stagnant.
• Minicabit.co.uk: A pre-pay, pre-book minicab platform.
• Insane Logic (MyChoicePad): The MyChoicePad is an app set to reduce the cost of classroom technology by brining language aids to smart technology.
• Night Zookeeper: An educational game for families and schools, combining drawing and traditional play in a zoo building game.
• Pollarize.me: A polling application that allows people to survey their friends across their social networks.
• PixelPin: Pictures replace passwords with this secure pin model for mobile and web services.
• Six3 Ltd: A platform to make it quicker, easier and cheaper for people to send and share video messages.
• Blue Butterfly Digital Ltd: An app that allows you to instantly connect to wi-fi networks without fiddly registration processes.
• 2ndSight: An innovative Smartphone platform that enables blind people to effectively use mobile touch screen technology.
• Epicurely: A social network to connect people who love food with each other allowing users to build their own online chef persona and gain recognition for their cooking talents.
• Touchline Solutions: Using smart phone technology to combat the problem of queuing.
The UK is Wayra's ninth country, and the London academy is its tenth site.
At the end of a six-month programme, the start-ups will be introduced to a network of venture capitalists for next stage funding. In exchange for initial financing, Telefnica receives the right of first refusal on products, but it does not require the entrepreneurs to give it exclusivity.
Last month, Telefnica launched a new Wayra accelerator programme for technology start-ups in Dublin's Docklands.
Meanwhile, those who were unsuccessful in their Wayra applications, but are aged 16-24, may be interested in the government’s new start up loans for for young entrepreneurs. The £82.5m scheme will offer finance and mentoring to help kickstart more businesses and tackle youth unemployment in the UK. The launch of the scheme last week, coincided with a new report by Lord Young, the government's enterprise adviser, which found that if the UK were to match the rate of entrepreneurship in the US, we would have 900,000 more businesses.
The report also says that the internet, along with the amount of support available for those looking to start a business today, has significantly lowered the barriers to entry for entrepreneurship, meaning that now is “a great time to start a business”.