Telefonica (Spain) is turning to Israeli high technology to boost its consumer product portfolio. – IsraelValley

Spain’s Telefonica, Europe’s third-largest telecommunications company, intends to increase investment in Israel’s high-tech sector this year, particularly in e-health and other consumer-facing businesses.

This announcement was made by Luisa Rubio, who leads Telefonica’s innovation arm, WayraX, and she has already made an investment in Israel – Upword, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create faster and more efficient summaries at from notes.

She said 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, if all goes well, by the end of the year we will have four or five more companies coming from Israel,” Rubio said in an interview with Reuters after visiting the country last week. last. “Israel will be one of our most relevant markets in terms of executing new investments.”

WayraX has taken stakes in 12 companies since it started in late 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 more mature growth-stage companies.

As its investments are in the start-up phase, WayraX only invests up to 250,000 euros ($263,500) per seed round.

“The value we bring to the table isn’t financial, it’s a strategic partner that helps these entrepreneurs expand their businesses across our territory – and potentially do business with Telefonica in the future” , Mr. Rubio said.

E-health and the ability for customers to connect to doctors online is a priority for Telefonica and a major area for investment in Israel, although Rubio also cited consumer activities such as buying medical products. ‘grocery store.

“We know we have to act very quickly (on investment decisions) because I’ve never seen such a dynamic ecosystem as Israel,” Rubio said.

She said Wayra is also looking to boost investment in Miami as a hub to connect Europe with Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

Source: Reuters & Israel Valley

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