VC arm of Telefonica backs first start-up from its Wayra academy

Telefonica's venture capital arm has made its first investment in a Wayra start-up, an institution set up to promote internet and ICT innovation in Europe and Latin America.

UK-based Taskhub has been backed by Telefonica Digital’s (the digital innovation arm of O2 parent company Telefonica) venture capital team.

Taskhub is currently being accelerated by Wayra in London and is a peer-to-peer marketplace for jobs, services and other opportunities.

It works by allowing users to post a ‘Task’ needing to be done, which then receives offers. Decisions are then made based on price, reviews, ratings and safety badges.

According to the business, the service is now up and running in the UK, with plans for expansion into the rest of Europe coming ‘soon after’.

The six-figure investment marks the first time that Telefonica’s venture arm has supported a Wayra start-up. Taskhub was one of the winning start-ups in Wayra’s inaugural call for UK-based projects in May 2012.

Its prize for winning has been help from Wayra including a shared working office space and access to possible investors.

Wayra London opened in the summer of 2012 and is part of a global network which includes 13 academies in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America including Argentina, Peru, Ireland and Germany.

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Taskhub CEO Rahul Ahuja comments, ‘We plan to be the single most valuable online source for local engagement through paid jobs and volunteer opportunities.

‘We’re very excited about our future not only with the investment from Telefonica but also the distribution partnership with O2 in the UK.’

As part of the investment deal, Telefonica will market Taskhub through O2 channels, including its small business customer base. 

Martin Harriman, head of Telefonica Digital for the UK and Ireland, comments, ‘We created Wayra to find and nurture the best technology start-ups and this investment in a fantastic example of how we can then take a start-up beyond seed stage, leveraging both our venture capital capabilities and opportunities within our operating businesses.

‘It is also a great proof point of the commitment Telefonica and O2 have to supporting and investing in the UK start-up community.

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Venture capital funding