Telefonica looks to Israel’s high-tech sector

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
A woman walks past the Telefonica stand during the Mobile World Congress 2022 in Barcelona, Spain, on February 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Joan Mateu ParraA woman walks past the Telefonica stand during the Mobile World Congress 2022 in Barcelona, Spain, on February 28, 2022.

'Israel will be one of our most relevant markets... I have never seen an ecosystem as dynamic as Israel'

Spain’s Telefonica – Europe’s third-largest telecoms company – is turning to Israel’s high-tech sector this year to increase investments in e-health and other consumer-facing business, a senior official said.

Luisa Rubio, who heads Telefonica’s innovation arm WayraX, already made an investment in Israel’s freelancing platform Upword.

She said WayraX, which invests small amounts in early-stage funding, is considering taking a stake 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 told Reuters after visiting the Jewish state last week. 

"Israel will be one of our most relevant markets in terms of executing new investments."

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WayraX took stakes in 12 companies since the end of 2020 and plans to reach 20 by the end of this year, she noted.

The decade-old WayraX wing has invested in some 800 companies, and since its investments are early stage, it only invests up to $263,500 per round.

"The value we bring to the table is not financial, it's being a strategic partner to help those entrepreneurs expand their operations all over our footprint," Rubio said.

"I have never seen an ecosystem as dynamic as Israel.”

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