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**Wayra UK and SyndicateRoom join forces to connect UK startups to vital growth capital

**London, UK. Tuesday 9 February 2016: Startup accelerator Wayra UK and equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom today announce a collaboration that seeks to guide a generation of technology businesses through their funding journey. SyndicateRoom will work closely with current and future businesses in the Wayra programme, using workshops and mentoring, and ultimately introduce qualifying businesses to their industry-defining platform and sophisticated crowd of investors, in order to raise growth capital.

Lobster (http://lobster.media) has become the first Wayra UK alumni to list on SyndicateRoom. An innovative marketplace for brands to find and license photos from social media users, Lobster’s £300,000 funding round was announced last week, alongside the announcement of Lobster’s integration with Google Photos (formerly Picasa), allowing Google Photos and Android device users to immediately offer their photos for licensing by media professionals.

SyndicateRoom is the UK’s only investor-led equity crowdfunding platform. The platform allows its members to co-invest alongside experienced lead investors in highly curated investment opportunities, while enjoying the same share class and same price per share as the lead investors. This unique model has enjoyed considerable success, as more than 70 businesses have raised more than £40 million in a little over two years since the platform launched. Select Wayra UK businesses will now be introduced to the platform and enjoy access to SyndicateRoom’s sophisticated crowd of online investors.

Wayra is a start-up accelerator owned by Telefónica Open Future, a global entrepreneurship and innovation network open to partners. It takes businesses using technology to solve the problems of the future, and helps them to grow. Wayra UK welcomed its latest cohort this week, a group of 15 innovative businesses, drawn from multiple sectors.

Both Telefónica and SyndicateRoom believe in the power of partnership. Telefónica Open Future is open to partners that want to support entrepreneurship and capture ideas in different industries. Wayra in the United Kingdom has contributed to this by launching groundbreaking partnerships with SyndicateRoom, MSD, Cambridge Wireless and others. SyndicateRoom recently announced a collaboration with Gust, the world’s largest network of angels and founders, and continues to build partnerships that provide access to sophisticated investment opportunities, investing alongside professional investors.

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future says: “Since its launch, start-ups have raised more than £42M through SyndicateRoom, with their unique model attracting experienced investors from across the ecosystem. Our collaboration with SyndicateRoom will help trigger the crowdfunding process for more of our start-ups so they continue their growth and contribute further to the UK’s bustling entrepreneurial economy.”

SyndicateRoom CEO, Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, adds: “Wayra has proven itself to be the UK’s most dynamic startup accelerator, working closely with promising startups and providing a vital service to the UK’s startup ecosystem as a whole. Wayra businesses need close guidance through their funding journey and the best of them will need access to growth capital. We look forward to presenting the cream of the crop to our investor community.”

About SyndicateRoom

SyndicateRoom is the only UK-based investor-led equity crowdfunding platform. SyndicateRoom allows its members to co-invest alongside experienced angel investors in highly sophisticated investment opportunities, while enjoying the same share class and same price per share as the lead investors.

SyndicateRoom was founded by Gonçalo de Vasconcelos and Tom Britton, and its own lead investors and advisers are UK Business Angel of the Year Peter Cowley and super-angel Jonathan Milner. SyndicateRoom is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

www.syndicateroom.com

About Wayra UK

Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, gives direct funding and acceleration services (such as co-working space, connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, training in entrepreneurship and business skills) to selected start-ups. Wayra UK contributes circa $US50, 000 as financial investment and another $US50,000 in acceleration services, or an equivalent amount in local currency, in exchange for an equity stake in the companies.

Since its launch in 2012, Wayra UK start-ups have raised $90M in third-party investment. Wayra UK’s social innovations have also raised $12.5M in third-party investment and topped the UK Government’s Social Incubator Fund.

Wayra UK is part of Telefónica Open Future, the open programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefónica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

www.wayra.co.uk

@WayraUK