London mayor Boris Johnson has officially opened a new start-up facility in the capital that will house 20 innovative start-ups in an effort to boost the UK's digital scene.
The Wayra Academy offers the firms free office space and utilities for six months so they can concentrate on attempting to build their business to become a major player in the market and support the nation's economy.
The Wayra project is run by Telefonica, the parent company of O2, and started in South America. The firm retains the right to take a 10 per cent stake in any firm housed in the facility.
The 20 companies were chosen from an initial list of over 1,000 submissions. Those chosen include Pixel Pin, which aims to use images rather than passwords for mobile and web services and CloudBlocks, described as,"an ‘app store' with tools for businesses to manage servers".
Speaking at the event, attended by V3, Johnson said the opening heralded yet another stage in London's growing reputation as a major digital city to compete with European and US rivals.
"It's fantastic to see this operation here today - other sectors such as banking may be having it tough but this is a sign of the resilience of the London economy and its ability to reinvent itself," he added.
The director of Wayra in Europe, Simon Devonshire, told V3 that the Academy would help provide the chance for the start-ups to grow and learn from their experiences, including by failing.
"By housing these innovative start-ups in one location they can all learn from one another as they grow, but some may find that their business idea isn't actually workable - that's good as sometimes failing is important too," he said.
"Even if they don't succeed I am sure what they learn during their time will play a key role in their successes in the future."
The risk-averse culture around start-up backing in the UK has often been cited as a key reason why the US and Silicon Valley maintains a more innovative technology sector, where failure is an accepted part of the scene.
Telefonica, which owns O2, announced its intention to launch the Wayra technology accelerator programme in March, with an investment of €1m planned for the initial phase of the project.
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