Nearly two and half years ago, Wayra CEE in Prague launched with an ambitious plan to scan the whole Central and Eastern Europe and find the most promising startups that were ready to break through and change the future of digital business. Our job was to recognize the talent, drive it, and provide the teams not only with funding (up to EUR 50 000), technology, tools and support but also with our global network of contacts, power and experience that come with a corporate company.
We might have been the youngest of the 14 Academies scattered around Europe and Latin America, but it didn’t stop us from thinking BIG. Since launching in 2013 and in just 22 months, Wayra CEE startups have gone on to raise over close to €2.2 million and are collectively valued at €12.44, creating close to 70 full time PAYE jobs. We received 418 applications (in total) but only 16 made it through.
Sixteen projects, with first cohort having 7 startups and second cohort having 9 startups, joined the one and only #WayraFamily and got the opportunity to utilize Telefónica’s global network of best mentors, partners and experts. The possibilities were endless, the mission was achievable. The cold truth is 90% of tech startups fail. Only time will tell how many success stories are we going to hear.
We weren’t just strangers sharing the same office – we were family. There was always somebody to give you constructive feedback. There was always somebody to test your app. There was always somebody working long hours with you. There was always somebody with a spare charger. There was always somebody who had the important contact you needed or knew the amazing person you wanted to meet. There was always somebody to cheer you up when times were hard… or get you a drink when they got better.
Over the two years, we hosted many entrepreneurs and speakers from all around the world who were teaching about success, hard work, and failure. Big names such as Jeff Burton (ex-Electronic Arts), Jan Rezab (Socialbakers), Laura Voglino (IBM), Jordan Schlipf (Future Centric), David Bizer (Talent Fountain), Steve Koenig (CEA), Peter Podolinsky (Facebook, Client Partner), Stefan Siegel (Not just a label), Whitney Sales, David Booth, Yann Girard, Erich Comor (Airbank) were among those who accepted our invitation. If we wrote about every inspiring person that passed through our door, this list could go on forever…
We also co-organized many interesting events* that attracted 3000+ people. We talked about technology and business, but we also covered many different topics from science and education, to fashion and trends. We had a lot to offer and that’s why Wayra fastly became one of the key players in Prague’s startup ecosystem bringing new opportunities and fresh perspective.
*Czechitas, WebExpo, Prague Entrepreneurs Meetup, iCollege, GrowJob, Pioneers Unplugged, Prague Product Management Meetup, Think Big, Aspen Institute, Czech Invest, Czech ICT Alliance, University of New York in Prague, Global Entrepreneurship Week, CEO Collaboration Forum, Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend or NetClub
Because of the great work of the Czech team in Wayra CEE, most of the startups are ready to sell their solutions on the market and potentially succeed. What’s next? Since the beginning of April, the whole portfolio of Wayra CEE startups is going to be handled by Wayra Munich, the nearest Academy.