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How much has the innovation and startup ecosystem changed with the arrival of AI?

Today we see an interest in the corporate market to find solutions with AI that allow them to gain efficiency. That naturally leads us to seek, with greater appetite, these types of solutions.

And how mature are the solutions you find on the market?

I would tell you that most of the investments we have been making have an important component of generative AI. There are companies in which we have invested where AI is a ‘core’ part of the product they have, but in those where it is not ‘core’, it is still present. Just as before we talked about digital native and non-native companies, today we can talk about AI native and non-native companies that need to transform. The companies in which we are investing are native AI.

There are 500 million euros accumulated in contracts between 190 startups and Telefónica globally.

Wayra was born in 2011. How much has she transformed?

When we started, the situation was totally different. Our mission was to help create local ecosystems for entrepreneurs and we did so by working as an accelerator, making investments in companies in very early stages. We have been in Peru from the beginning.

How many hits have they achieved in the Peruvian market?

As Wayra Hispam, we have 29 of which, like Peru, we have 7 among which are Crehana, Culqi and Joinnus who this year made Krealo ‘exit’. Globally, there are more than 100.

Andrés Saborido, global director of Wayra.  (Photo: Hugo Pérez)

Andrés Saborido, global director of Wayra. (Photo: Hugo Pérez)

What stage are they at now?

In 2018 we changed our investment thesis. We decided to invest in startups that could fit in with Telefónica companies. Today the number we like to count the most is the number of companies we have in the world that do some type of business with Telefónica. There are 190 companies with more than 550 active. In Peru alone, there are 11 startups that are working with Telefónica or the group’s companies located in the country.

What will be your bet on the Peruvian market in 2024?

Something that we have intensified this year is to transfer these 12 years of learning to other companies that are looking for the same thing as Telefónica: seeking a relationship with startups. This is known as open innovation. This is what we are doing with companies like AstraZeneca. Here in Peru you have an agreement with us in which we look for companies in the health field applied to your business and we help you along the way.

What is the pace of investments you have planned for next year?

We have three natural lines of work. One is as an investor and that continues to be our ‘core’. We are making around 40 investments per year and we want to continue with it. The second line is business development between startups and Telefónica companies. And the third is to continue collaborating with other corporations interested in continuing to develop businesses with startups.

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