AI & Blockchain Accelerator 

Developing the UK’s AI & Blockchain Ecosystem through accelerating innovative start-ups.

What is the AI Blockchain Accelerator?

The AI & BlockchainAccelerator is a collaboration between The University of Edinburgh, and Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future. It is supported by Scottish Enterprise and sponsored by CISCO.

As part of its mission to make the UK and Edinburgh  the’ go to’ place for new AI and /or Blockchain businesses with High Growth potential.  The Accelerator is looking for start-up companies who:

    • offer next-generation solution using AI or Blockchain technologies that are better, safer and cheaper than existing products.

    • are using innovative techniques to solve a known problem.

    • that can make a difference now rather than research proposals.

    • have an active UK ( ideally Scottish)  presence including a UK/Scottish registered business.

The solutions could be for any customers, from individuals at home to the world’s biggest companies, but must address one of the challenge themes outlined below.

The Accelerator is run in partnership with The University of Edinburgh and Wayra, combining the  technical & reserach expertise  of UoE and Wayra’s commercial connectedness to London’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is supported by Scottish Enterprise offering Scotland wide businesses support .

The programme runs for 6 months and meets three days a week.  The programme is based in the Bayes Centre, Edinburgh and a founder of each company is required to attend each week for the three days.  To have a national reach but an Edinburgh focus, the programme offers a £7500 stipend to cover travel costs.

The programme selects up to 10 companies, which range in their maturity from early stage angel investment to securing initial seed investment.

Through a combination of technical and commercial mentorship and introductions, the programme works with start-ups to:

    • articulate their fundamental proposition and strengthen their business foundations.

    • develop and communicate their core product or service to a range of business audiences.

    • facilitate introductions to companies and investors.

    • provide access to University digital talent.

What we offer

£7500 grant (to cover the costs of travel)

Wayra’s and The University of Edinburgh’s investor networks and acceleration services

Use of a dedicated accelerator facility in The Bayes Centre, Edinburgh

Telefónica commercial expertise

Business and AI/Blockchain experts and Academics


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What is intelligent mobility?

Areas of Interest

The programme will invest in and accelerate start-ups tackling engineering challenges across selected focus areas:

Social inclusion/equity
Operational Efficiency
Sustainable Production Systems
Smart Cities and IoT
Smart Contracts
Tokenization of Digital Assets
Enterprise Sales
Customer Service & Customer Experience
Supply Chain Management & Traceability
Fintech & Insurance
Chatbots, Voice & Web chat
Transport & Smart Mobility
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Are there any restrictions on the types of companies who can apply?
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What funding do companies receive through the programme?
How long is the programme?
Where will the programme be based?
Will UoE / Wayra take any equity in the companies?
Are the companies required to licence or transfer any of their intellectual property to UoE or Wayra?
After the programme, will the companies be invited to work with Telefonica?
Are the companies effectively working for the Accelerator Partners?
Why is Wayra suited to partner the University of Edinburgh?
What does the Wayra programme offer?
Who is Wayra?