Edinburgh’s tech ecosystem welcomes AI and blockchain entrepreneurs

Wayra, Telefonica’s open innovation platform, and the University of Edinburgh are proud to welcome the third Cohort of start-ups to the Edinburgh AI and blockchain Accelerator. 

Powered by O2 Telefonica, Wayra Edinburgh is an AI and Blockchain accelerator programme for digital start-ups.  It was set up by in Autumn 2018 in partnership with Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics and Cisco.  Since launch the programme has welcomed two cohorts featuring 20 data-driven start-ups. Between them they have raised over £3m in investment with a combined valuation of over £12m. 

‘Welcome Week’ is the introductory agenda for the next batch of start-ups joining the programme. From over 100 applicants around the world, 10 have been selected and now have the chance of benefiting from the incredible network offered by the partners to help scale their businesses.

With successful programmes run in 2018 and 2019, this year’s cohort will see ten new start-ups embark on the Accelerator journey supported by Wayra and the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Innovation Centre.

The range of start-ups include; software companies dealing with Big Data analytics, AI engagement streams, cross variety information, healthcare solutions and monitoring. The start-up ‘LiberEat’ will be aiming to make life easier for people with dietary requirements by showing them exactly what they and their family members can eat. While ‘Sentinel Biosensor’ will be working on medical grade, wearable, autonomous, vital signs monitors that can spot signs of deterioration in patients.

There are also start-ups covering IoT (Internet of Things) Finance, mobile security & blockchain, health service and Open Banking.  For example, ‘Vennle’ uses big data analytics tools to optimise public transport networks, allowing them to visualise, forecast and optimise. Whereas ‘PolyDigi Tech’ are a next generation mobile security & blockchain solutions company.

Bruno Moraes, Country Manager of Wayra UK, said “I’m impressed with the quality of the start-ups in this cohort, they will experience a fantastic programme we are delivering with our partners. This programme, and our partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Cisco, is an important element to promote the expansion of the local innovation ecosystem.”

Ritchie Somerville, Head of Strategy for the DDI Programme, said “It is fantastic to be on the cusp of delivering our third cohort of start-ups to the Accelerator.  We are learning each time the Accelerator is run, and are excited by how companies in the previous two cohorts are now embedded into the Tech Ecosystem of the region.  We are delighted to now welcome this new cohort. The support provided by Wayra, and Cisco as partners in this Accelerator, is fantastic and I look forward to seeing how the start-ups realise this opportunity to develop and grow during 2020.”

The Data-Driven Innovation initiative is supported by the £1.3bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, and is being delivered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Heriot-Watt University to help organisations benefit from data-driven innovation and increase the talent supply for the region’s booming tech-sector.  The Wayra AI and Blockchain Accelerator, based in the Bayes Innovation Centre, is one of the early programmes receiving support to enable entrepreneurship and company growth.

Wayra describes itself as ‘the most globally connected and technological open innovation hub in the world’. They currently operate in: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Spain and the United Kingdom. Wayra’s presence in Edinburgh recognises the growing reputation of our capital as a vibrant tech/digital hub and works toward our vision of becoming the data capital of Europe.

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