ASOS & Wayra UK Launch Acceleration Programme In Search of World’s Most Innovative Fashion Technology Start-ups

  • Direct investment, dedicated acceleration services, intensive mentoring for 8 months and office space available to a select number of start-ups.
  • Partnership to find and accelerate innovative start-ups with technology that can make the ASOS experience even better for its 11 million customers around the world.
  • Mature start-ups with proven track record asked to submit proposals.
  • Opportunity for start-ups to access Telefónica’s customer base (more than 300 million) and ASOS’s networks locally and globally.

London, 3rd May, 2016: ASOS – one of the world’s leading fashion destinations for 20-somethings – is launching a partnership with Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, to find and accelerate innovative start-ups with technology that can make the ASOS experience even better for its 11 million customers around the world.

With more than 80,000 products on ASOS, 3,500 new items added every week and an average of 3.2 million visits daily, ASOS and Wayra UK will be looking for smart technologies to accelerate the pace of innovation within the fashion technology space, making the customer experience easier, more enjoyable, and more personalised.

Mature start-ups with proven track record of developing technologies, products and services that complement the ASOS experience will be considered for the programme. This translates to meaningful solutions that allow customers to find the perfect item among the 80,000+ products on; native mobile and web experiences; technology that can further ASOS’s fulfilment proposition; and new ways of understanding and rewarding customers. As part of this process, the call will not include start-ups in the wearable tech, 3D printing or fashion design space.

Direct investment will be offered to a select number of start-ups, with access to dedicated acceleration services and office space within Wayra UK’s academy in Central London for a period of 8 months. During that time, each team will receive intensive mentoring from an experienced network of coaches – including those from ASOS – to help scale all aspects of their business as well as access to an extensive investor network and potentially, access to Telefónica’s customer base (more than 300 million) and ASOS’s networks locally and globally.

One of the key motivators behind the partnership was the fit with Telefónica as a global digital telecommunications company. With mobile now accounting for 50% of ASOS’s sales and given that in the past six months, it reported 3.2 million downloads of its app, Wayra UK’s dedicated Business Development team will work closely with Telefónica’s operating businesses to find product market fit for those start-ups selected.

“ASOS has always been known as a digital leader and this partnership will help us continue to serve the needs of our customers as they evolve. There are specific areas where we would like to accelerate innovation, but we are also excited to hear what ideas come back from the start-ups themselves. The potential here, for ASOS, our customers and the companies we end up working with, is huge and Wayra UK is the perfect partner to work with on this search.” – Cliff Cohen, ASOS CIO

“To see ASOS – arguably one of Britain’s biggest start-up success stories – itself embrace open innovation in this way is truly inspiring and shows why the UK has evolved into one of the world’s best start-up ecosystems. ASOS is the perfect co-investor for anyone interested in e-commerce, adtech and fashion tech. “- Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future UK.

“Innovative start-ups like RotaGeek, which enabled O2 to reinvest £2.5M in customer experience with its smart scheduling system and Qudini, which is now the preferred queue management system for Telefónica across 21 countries, are great proof-points as to how we can help ASOS disrupt the fashion retail space and internationalise the propositions our start-ups are developing.” – Bridget Lea, Retail Director, Telefónica UK

The call for submissions will close at 9am on Monday 23rd May. Those start-ups selected will go through to the semi-finals on Thursday 26th May at ASOS with the finals taking place at the Wayra UK academy on Thursday 2nd June. Representatives from Wayra UK and ASOS will also be at Decoded Fashion between 17-18 May and following that event, will hold a special evening reception at the Wayra UK academy in London on 19 May.


Notes to editors

Website submission link:



Danny Bartlett, Head of PR, Wayra UK & Telefónica Open Future UK | +44 (0) 7860 760 841

ASOS image gallery:

About ASOS

ASOS is a global fashion destination for 20-somethings. We sell cutting-edge fashion and offer a wide variety of fashion-related content, making the hub of a thriving fashion community. We sell over 80,000 branded and own-brand products through localised mobile and web experiences, delivering from our fulfilment centres in the UK, US and Europe to almost every country in the world.

We tailor the mix of own-label, global and local brands sold through each of our eight local language websites: UK, US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia and Russia.

ASOS’s websites attracted 106 million visits during February 2016 (February 2015: 88 million) and as at 29 February 2016 had 10.9 million active customers1 (28 February 2015: 9.3 million), of which 4.3 million were located in the UK and 6.6 million were located in our international territories (28 February 2015: 3.7 million in the UK and 5.6 million internationally).

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 $78M 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 in the United Kingdom.

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.

Telefónica Open Future

Telefónica Open Future_ is the open innovation programme that brings to life Telefónica’s global commitment to develop and gain talent and entrepreneurship; since 2014, it has grouped together all of Telefónica’s existing activities and projects in the field of open innovation. Through social entrepreneurship initiatives and commitment to entrepreneurship among young people, Think Big and Talentum, its Crowdworking spaces, the Wayra accelerators, and the Telefónica Ventures and Amerigo investment funds, it promotes and invests in viable technology-based projects, ideas and people, at all stages of the lifecycle, openly and in conjunction with public and private organisations. It has a portfolio of more than 850 startups that have been accelerated, more than 600 startups invested in and offices in 17 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia.

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