The arrival of Wayra Peru has been pivotal in providing the Peruvian entrepreneurial community with a solid acceleration model and in rendering Lima a South American technology hub. The response to the Telefónica accelerator’s first call for projects in Peru was overwhelmingly positive, with a record 1217 startups applying to the program.
We at PulsoSocial caught up with Gonzalo Villarán, Business Director of Wayra Peru. Villarán told us about the goals reached and lessons learned with the organization’s first Peruvian startup class.
PulsoSocial: What does the balance sheet of this first round of Wayra Peru startups look like?
Gonzalo Villarán: Very positive. We’ve completed the first round of acceleration with nine startups, which participated in the Wayra Peru Demo Day at the end of the process. A number of local investors attended the event, and thanks to it, five projects are on their way to closing investment deals in order to continue to grow their businesses.
PS: What impact has Wayra had on Peru’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?
GV: In our view, a big one. There are more entrepreneurial communities and events in the country now than before, and we think we’ve contributed to that. Moreover, the organizations that were already in existence have been reinforced thanks to Wayra’s work in inspiring technology entrepreneurship and in expanding opportunities for funding. The Peruvian government also has a favorable view of initiatives like ours and is starting to create programs that support startups.
PS: What challenges will your first class of startups face post-acceleration?
GV: In these types of businesses, it’s necessary to reach a balancing point. Therefore, the first task is to raise money in order to stay active. Likewise, now is the time to grow user bases and achieve an attractive growth curve in order to demonstrate viability and opportunities for future investors.
PS: What support does Wayra provide once the acceleration process is complete?
GV: Wayra follows its startups quite closely. Primarily, we continue to help entrepreneurs reach out to investors – something that isn’t exactly immediate. Nevertheless, we assist them in negotiations with investors to reach a favorable agreement.
Moreover, as partners in these companies, the Wayra directory advises entrepreneurs regarding important business decisions. Wayra alumni are still a part of our network and therefore continue to participate in Wayra Academy activities.
PS: Has a specific success story emerged from your first class? What startup was most relevant locally and internationally?
GV: The case of Papaya is notable. They will now be scaling regionally and later globally, focusing on emerging markets. Furthermore, Papaya will represent Peru at Wayra’s International demoDay 2012 next month in Miami and is currently in the process of seeking funding from both local and international sources.
This text was adapted into English by Emily Stewart from its original Spanish publication.