What is the AI Blockchain Accelerator

The AI & Blockchain Accelerator, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and Wayra UK, is designed to accelerate the best AI & Blockchain start-ups in Europe to scale globally. It aims to attract disruptive pre-incorporated and incorporated start-ups that apply AI & Blockchain with high-growth potential, while helping them grow into world-leading companies.

The programme will support two cohorts of up to ten start-ups a year, based in Edinburgh. It is supported by Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies; and the University of Edinburgh, home to the largest centre for computing science and informatics in Europe; and Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT and networking.


    • Support high-growth potential pre-incorporated and incorporated start-ups that help drive GDP growth, job creation and new investment in innovation primarily within Scotland but also the wider UK;

    • Leverage a significant talent pool and innovation ecosystem in AI and data science;

    • Generate new opportunities that drive the future of industry and government digitisation.
Businesses accepted to the programme will receive a six-month support programme, providing office space in the new Bayes Centre, mentoring and networking.

The successful start-ups will also get access to the partners’ networks of investors, government agencies, customers, large corporates and universities, as well as opportunities to work with the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading researchers in AI, Data Science, Blockchain, Robotics and Natural Language Processing.

Areas of interest


Transport: Smart Mobility

Chatbots; Voice & Web chat
Fintech & Insurance

Audit trails for phone, car and home insurance
Audit trails for devices; and
Smart payments and financing
Supply Chain Management & Traceability

Customer Service & Customer Experience
Enterprise Sales
Tokenization of Digital Assets 
Smart Contracts

Smart Cities / IoT

Sustainable Production Systems
Operational Efficiency

Efficiency in internal processes for Telcos (e.g., roaming, interconnection between operators, big data, etc.)


The AI & Blockchain Accelerator would consist of two 6-month cohorts of up to 10 pre-incorporated and incorporated start-ups per programme year. It would be focused on early-stage start-ups that operate within the agreed focus areas.

The programme would include:

Office Space

6 months of office space in the new Bayes Centre (for the duration of programme)

Business Development

Business development opportunities and 1:1 meetings with senior stakeholders inside the University of Edinburgh, Telefónica/O2, Cisco and its partners

Network Access

Support from Wayra and the University of Edinburgh’s network of 500 coaches, mentors, investors and alumni


Regular meetings with senior Wayra, the University of Edinburgh and Cisco staff


Invitations to relevant networking events; and PR support

Dedicated Mentors

Mentoring sessions from senior leaders within Telefónica, the University of Edinburgh, Cisco and its networks


Constant support from the acceleration manager based at the Accelerator


Call closed for 2018

For any questions, please contact us.