Telefonica turns to Israel’s high-tech to boost consumer business

Telefonica, Europe’s third-largest telecoms company, aims to increase investments in Israel’s high-tech sector this year, including in e-health and other consumer-facing business.
Telefonica’s 5G network in SpainLuisa Rubio, who heads Telefonica’s innovation arm WayraX, has made investment in Israel – Upword, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create faster, more efficient summaries from notes.

WayraX, which invests small amounts in early-stage funding, is considering investing in two more Israeli startups, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

“We have already executed the first one and hopefully, at the end of the year we will have another four or five companies coming from Israel,” Rubio said in an interview with Reuters after visiting the country last week. “Israel will be one of our most relevant markets in terms of executing new investments.”

WayraX has picked up stakes in 12 companies since it began at the end of 2020 and has a plan to reach 20 by the end of 2022, she said. Wayra, which is a decade old, has invested in some 800 companies, and Telfonica Ventures buys into more mature growth-stage companies.

Since its investments are early stage, WayraX only invests up to 250,000 euros ($263,500.00) per round.

Wayra is also looking to boost investments in Miami as a hub to bridge Europe with Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

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