• Round‑up of recent activity among Telefónica-backed startup and venturing ecosystems.

Open Future developments

Open Future developments

Source: Atlantia Search

Round up of recent activity among Telefónica-backed startup and venturing ecosystems
 Source: Telefónica; World Tourism Organization.

Atlantia Search


(Latin America)


Telefónica in Latin America trumpeted that two startups accelerated by its Wayra innovation hub had recently raised a total of €5.5m in funding to expand in Europe and theUSA.

Mexico-based AtlantiaSearch, a locally-focused consumer insights platform provider formed in 2013, closed a funding round led by Redwood Ventures, with additional investment from other funds including Wayra and GCCapital.

Atlantia, said to operate the largest consumer insights platform in Latin America with customers including ABInBev, FedEx, KPMG, and Walmart, will use the funding to expand into new countries, and strengthen its product offering based on automation, machine-learning, and visual-recognition technologies.

Meanwhile, vehicle and fleet management specialist Pulpomatic, which was established in 2017 and has more than 100customers in nine countries, including Ezentis, Telefónica, and Zeiss, closed a funding round led by Swanlaab Venture Factory, and will use this to expand in Western Europe and theUSA.

Atlantia partnered with Wayra in 2013, while Pulpomatic began working with the innovation hub more recently in 2018.




The finalists for a Telefónica España-backed, tourism sector-related startup competition have been selected by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Globalia, a tourism group focused on Spain and Latin America.

The second edition of the Global Tourism Startup Competition is seeking proposals related to technology and innovation in the tourism sector from more mature startups, with applicants required to have generated more than €500,000 in turnover during 2018.

Telefónica is collaborating in the competition’s SmartMobility category, featuring projects that facilitate the mobility of passengers using transport systems, reduce costs, minimise environmental impacts, and save time. The finalists for the category, both Spain-based, were: Eccocar, a car‑sharing platform that offers fleet management services to enterprises, public administrations, and communities; and Zeleros, with its Hyperloop ground transportation system that carries passengers and cargo at speeds of up to 1,100km per-hour inside low‑pressure tubes.

The other categories, supported by partners comprising Amadeus, Distrito Digital Valencia, IEAfrica Centre, IntuCosta delSol, and Turismo de Portugal, comprise: Deep Tech; Disruptive Hospitality; Innovative Tourism Solutions; Rural Development; Smart Destinations; Social Impact in Africa; and Sustainability. The partners will participate in the final decision, and in the subsequent promotion, financing rounds, and implementation, of the winners’ pilot projects.

The annual competition is being run by Wakalua, the tourism innovation hub underpinned by Globalia in collaboration with UNWTO, which will host the winning startups for further development, and provide support to establish links with leading companies in the sector. The finalists will present their projects at Wakalua’s headquarters in Madrid, with seven to win awards in their respective categories.

To date, the contest has attracted nearly 5,000applications from 150countries, with the highest number of proposals submitted by Spanish companies, followed by startups in India, theUSA, Portugal, Nigeria, and Colombia.




Telefónica trumpeted the acquisition of voice communication technology provider Teravoz by Silicon Valley-based cloud communications specialist Twilio, reportedly generating a return of more than 30times the initial sum the operator invested. The purchase price of Teravoz, which will be renamed TwilioBrazil, was not disclosed.

Founded in 2014, and incubated by Wayra Brazil since 2017, Teravoz has developed application programming interfaces for voice communication. Its cloud-based system facilitates connection between users’ telephone networks and software‑as-a‑service models, such as Salesforce and Slack. Teravoz now has 500customers, including Amazon, Netflix, and Uber, with more than 8.5million minutes per-month carried on its platform.

WayraBrazil ended 2019 with 36startups in its portfolio, with particular areas of interest cited as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data, cybersecurity, data analytics, and the Internetof Things, as well as ‘agtechs’, ‘edtechs’, and ‘fintechs’.




ZYLK, a Bilbao-based big data and open-source specialist, was the winner of the latest “challenge” issued through Bizkaia Open Future, the innovation hub created by Telefónica and the province of Bizkaia (Biscay) in the Basque Country at the end of 2015.

The challenge, set in September2019 by local water management authority Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, was entitled “Howcan new technologies facilitate management and maintenance of the control devices of its facilities?” The call, the ninth conducted by Bizkaia Open Future, attracted 38applications, of which 20 were submitted from startups in the Basque Country, 16 from the rest of Spain, and two from elsewhere.

ZYLK won a €15,000 prize, as well as access to grants from Bizkaia Provincial Council, and is to undertake a pilot of the project, funded by Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia.