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October 7, 2013

Startup bootcamps are the first step of a long journey

But the UK tech scene will get its big company eventually.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

We’re into the last two weeks of Wayra’s call for entrepreneurs and startups to join its international academies.

The Telefonica-funded initiative provides up to £70,000 for between 5% and 10% of equity for firms filling one of 37 spaces across its programmes in places like London, Caracas and Munich.

The organisation has a proven track record in getting companies up and running – 274 of the 295 startups which have passed through a Wayra programme are still operating since the scheme started in 2011.

A whopping 20 of the 37 spaces are based in Wayra’s London HQ, which along with the recent move of startup bootcamp Oxygen Accelerator from Birmingham to the capital (to Google Campus, in fact), shows the power and attraction of London as a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent.

But while these firms and initiatives are great in promoting extremely fast early-stage growth and attracting initial investment rounds from VCs and other investors, it’s the latter stage rounds (of a few million quid and up) that will get London – and the UK – the attention it deserves as a place of innovation.

What startup hubs around the country need is one big exit – perhaps not the next Google or Facebook (though that would be nice), but a huge sale to one of those giants that will spark major overseas investment in the UK scene.

It’s going the right way though and the startup scene itself is still in its early days, so maybe this is too much to demand of it too soon. We may have to wait for it, but with schemes like Wayra’s and the creative companies being encouraged along by them, it is bound to happen at some point.

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Who knows, maybe one of the startups which makes it into Wayra’s latest London intake will be the one to do it in a few years.

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