Last week we learned that one of Wayra’s best performing programs, Ireland, was shutting down at the end of May. In various statements Telefonica claimed that the decision was made following the sale of O2 to EE and that affected startups would continue to receive support from Wayra in London and Madrid.
Wayra CEE (based in Prague and aimed at startups from Central East Europe) is the next one to close, as confirmed by Wayra in a statement published on its website on February 6th. The closure will take place at the end of March -when the current program finishes- and the telco says that the reason behind it is “to focus on the strategic regions in which Telefonica operates”. Which makes sense given the fact that Telefonica’s subsidiary in the Czech Republic was sold last year to PPF.
Novobrief has talked to sources close to the company and these claim that more Wayra academies are set to close in the near future, as the company tries to focus its efforts on a limited number of markets where Telefonica has a strong presence.
These same sources say that Wayra’s programs in Spain, London and Germany are safe for now. Outside of Europe, Wayra has programs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
Novobrief has also learned that the selection of a new global CEO for Wayra will not happen until these consolidation efforts are completed, under the direction of Javier Placer and the Open Future umbrella.
From a strategic standpoint it’s reasonable for Telefonica to close academies in those markets where the multinational can’t provide hands-on and local support. However, two big questions continue to hang over Wayra’s future: what program will be the next one to close? And most importantly, who’s going to be in charge of leading the next chapter in Wayra’s career following these significant changes?