AS A LONG-TIME O2 customer, I was looking for indications that O2's demise would affect Ireland in a negative way. And with the closing of the Wayra incubator, I have my first negative indicator.
Wayra Logo scraped from web.
I saw the news on Wayra's Ireland's website a day after returning from a whirlwind visit to ground zero of Ireland's Open Coffee movement in Limerick. It was the same day I walked through Questum, a vacant incubator down the Ring Road in Clonmel where I work.
Wayra, Telefonica’s global startup accelerator, closes its Dublin academy in June, "once the current cohort of nine startups has completed the programme," says its press release.
"Wayra grows businesses by leveraging the local Telefónica operating business in each country." This has helped Irish start-ups get toe holds in other countries, leveraging the global Telefónica brand. With the sale of O2-Ireland to Three Ireland, O2 "has agreed to finish the Wayra programme in Ireland and to focus on the strategic regions in which Telefónica operates." The shutdown of the programme also gives Three more office space in its Dublin headquarters after the start-ups move out.
According to the cross-talk at WASUP Kerry a few months ago, 105 jobs came on stream directly as a result of new Wayra Ireland start-ups. Those companies raised more than ten million euro in funding against their combined market valuation of more than 50 million euro.
Wayra is one of many dynamic parts of the Dublin entrepreneurial community. In addition to very prominent office space, Wayra's marketing network offered a huge window of opportunity for Irish start-ups targeting markets as diverse as South America and Germany.