03 December 2019
The AI & Blockchain Accelerator opens applications for 2020 programme
The AI & Blockchain Accelerator, at the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading Bayes Centre, calls start-ups and entrepreneurs to apply for the 2020 programme. Applications can be submitted online (www.wayra.co.uk) from 3rd December to 15th January.
The Accelerator is a collaboration between Wayra UK, Telefónica’s open innovation arm and the University’s Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Programme (part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal). It is also supported by Scottish Enterprise and sponsored by Cisco.
According to Daniel Lesnick, a Blockchain expert working in the programme since its launch in 2018, “The Accelerator has a mission to make the UK and Edinburgh the “go-to” place for new AI and Blockchain businesses with high-growth potential. To date, 20 start-ups have been accelerated through the programme, which aims to scale their businesses through investment, mentoring, and business development, by giving them access to the networks of all market-leading partners”.
Ritchie Somerville, Head of Strategy for the University of Edinburgh's DDI programme, commented: "The DDI programme has as one of its core areas of focus supporting data-driven entrepreneurship across the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region. Progressing from having a good idea to running a business is one that calls on lots of support, and when working with new and cutting edge technology, this is especially true. The Wayra Accelerator, housed in the Bayes Centre, is a fantastic example of how the University, working with industry and government can support both the growth of local talent and attract new businesses to the region."
Ocyan, a blockchain start-up from the 2019 cohort, has already expanded its business to Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK via the Accelerator, and is receiving ongoing business support from Scottish Enterprise. They are also doing trials with Telefónica, which is testing Ocyan’s cloud-native blockchain platform for their business. The Company’s CEO, Evangelos Papas, will pitch Ocyan on the 11th December at the Accelerator Demo Day at Mansfield Traquair, Edinburgh. Demo Day is like a “graduation” day for the start-ups and it marks the end of the programme.
Over the programme, the start-ups have had a series of high-profile visitors and workshops, including Brock Pierce, who is credited as a digital currency pioneer and has raised over $5B for crypto and blockchain companies. Pierce is also the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and Co-Founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether and Mastercoin.
After the application period finishes, the partners will select start-ups for the semi-finals, which will take place on 30th January 2020. Some start-ups will then be selected for the finals on 6th February 2020, from which 10 start-ups will be chosen to join the next cohort, to begin on 19th February 2020 and end in June 2020. During the programme, all start-ups will be based in the Bayes Centre.
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