Movistar extends tech entrepreneur program to Chile

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spain's Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), through its Movistar brand, has launched the tech entrepreneur program Wayra in Chile to complement its existing tech incubator Innova, the company said in a statement.

Wayra, which in the indigenous South American Quechua language means "wind," has already been launched in Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

The idea is to identify talent in Spain and Latin America in the area of ICT and to support the development of startup companies by providing training, tech resources, a network of contacts for potential financiers, legal advice and a physical space to meet and discuss ideas.

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Movistar Chile's Innova tech incubator and accelerator program has, to date, held five rounds for entrepreneurs, evaluating 2,000 projects and raising US$400,000 in seed capital. It has seen the creation of seven companies operating in Chile and two in Silicon Valley.

Those companies include SmartBoxTV, which develops applications for interactive digital TV via social networks, providing sports statistics, messaging and games; and Baytex, which is a SaaS system for building and managing interactive magazines and catalogues on tablets.

Movistar Chile's executive president, Claudio Muñoz, said Telefónica forecasts that 30% of its global income will come from innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives in 2016.

Wayra Chile is currently open to receiving project ideas from December 22-January 31. Some 30 projects will be selected and then be whittled down to 10.

The program will favor innovation in the areas of: cloud computing, financial services, M2M, security, e-health, mobile applications, e-commerce, e-learning, video/digital home, social innovation, social networks and internet applications.

Each project selected will receive US$50,000 in financing and must ensure a 10% stake for Wayra.

Chile's government also supports entrepreneurship in Chile through the Start-Up Chile program of the state development agency Corfo, which offers foreign entrepreneurs a six-month work visa and a US$40,000 grant to come and launch a business in the country.