With the NHS facing a funding gap estimated at £30bn by 2020/21, both MSD and Wayra UK believe that we need to look ahead to the future delivery of innovative healthcare solutions.

We want to empower patients to take more control and ownership over their well-being, and believe emerging digital technologies have a vital part to play in achieving this goal.

We believe accelerating healthcare start-ups will help us achieve this and also identify new and sustainable ways of delivering patient care, both now and in the future.


For 2018, Velocity Health will focus on start-ups who can help with the following challenge: how technology can help support disease and illness prevention, with a particular focus on start-ups utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.



Our acceleration programme will provide funding up to £68,000

Our investor network

Wayra’s investor network helps businesses scale

Office space

The recently refurbished academy provides the perfect location for business growth


Significant skills development through our ongoing masterclasses

Dedicated mentors

Our mentor network provides helpful guidance throughout the acceleration process


One-on-one meetings help each start-up develop their businesses more quickly


Coaches provide in-depth special advice across different business aspects

Network access

Opportunity to leverage Telefónica and MSD’s global footprint


Our fundamental Velocity Health principle - ‘All Teach, All Learn’ - means we are continually committed to providing and growing beneficial relationships for our start-ups and the ecosystem.

By creating an extensive network of healthcare professionals, academics, and corporate members, our Velocity Health Explorers Network will have the opportunity to engage with an incredible ecosystem in digital health, whilst also providing entrepreneurs with the right expertise to accelerate their development.

Explorers can join the Velocity Health network by becoming mentors, navigators or collaborators.



Quarterly videos on our 2017 start-ups.


View or download the terms and conditions document.


Call closed for 2017

For any questions, please contact us.


Our vision for Velocity Health

MSD, a global healthcare company that is looking to transform healthcare through innovative solutions, and Wayra UK, Telefónica’s digital start up accelerator, are investing in digital innovation in healthcare to address the challenges outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View. The NHS has a challenge of closing a funding gap that is estimated at £30bn by 2020/21. Meeting this challenge is the responsibility of the NHS, healthcare providers and patients alike and will rely heavily on the skills of those who are placed at the forefront of innovation. We’re challenging the digital start-up community to create solutions that reimagine how healthcare can be delivered in the UK to help improve patient outcomes. We want to do this by nurturing entrepreneurial talent and technological expertise to enable the development of innovative products and services that not only deliver savings and efficiencies to the healthcare system, but will test the capabilities of what’s possible.

Why has MSD launched Velocity Health?

MSD has always worked to tackle some of the biggest unmet health needs of our time and has a proud heritage of R&D and innovation. But we don’t want to stop there – we want to continue to transform healthcare through innovative solutions that go beyond the pill to help form smarter, more flexible and potentially future-proof processes that can help safeguard patients health. Accelerating healthcare start-ups can help provide patients with more access to healthcare, identify new and potentially sustainable ways of delivering preventative care, and, crucially, act as a framework for further innovation. Smaller businesses, by virtue of their size and flexibility, are able to ‘pivot’ and change quickly depending on their circumstance and environment. We believe that we can learn a lot from these entrepreneurs and vice versa so that we can analyse and help shape major emerging and important trends in the industry.

Why is Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future_, involved?

We believe that helping people to stay healthy and reaching out to patients is not just the remit ofthe NHS. Preventing ill-health requires partnerships and our goal will only be met through working closely with the NHS, public, private and third-sector partners to look at the needs of people and how resources can be best used to meet those needs. In this sense, the power of partnership is key in driving innovation forward. In our 150 years, we’ve built long-term, deeply-embedded partnerships with the NHS – who we’ve been working with since its inauguration – academic centres of excellence, and other healthcare providers who believe in creating an environment which thrives for better patient outcomes. Wayra UK also share in that belief.

Wayra is a start-up accelerator that is part of Telefónica Open Future_, a global entrepreneurship and investment network, open to partners. Wayra first launched in Latin America and Spain in 2011 and runs innovation hubs across Europe and Latin America. To date, Open Future_ has invested over 300m euro in 500 businesses and signed 60 partnerships across 17 counties. Wayra in the UK has supported in excess of 140 start-ups, half of which were accelerated through Wayra’s social accelerator programme – the UK’s first accelerator facility for digital technology social ventures. Among those were are number of health-related businesses. From intelligent glasses for the visually impaired, to phone apps identifying possible melanoma, Wayra has created an environment where healthcare start-ups have experienced significant growth and scaled fast. This will significantly increase with the association with Velocity Health.

Who will this benefit?

The benefits will be felt not only by MSD and the new emerging businesses being invested in; the programme will also bring growth to the healthcare sector and the economy with the potential of providing job opportunities, helping differentiate the UK from other innovative healthcare hubs. Ultimately, our aim is to improve the way we deliver care to patients, and hopefully an improved patient experience.

What’s in it for MSD?

We’re looking to run this programme to maximise every opportunity that comes out of Velocity Health. For the start-ups, this means maximising their potential, so they take full advantage of the services on offer as well as the networks that will open up to them. The programme is dependent on their success and our focus will be to ensure they optimise their products and services; build out their teams; attract investment; build credibility; a customer base; enhance their sustainability and scale up fast. In return for the investment made by MSD in partnership with Wayra, MSD will have a right of first negotiation with selected start-up companies. If MSD elects to exercise this right, it will allow MSD to negotiate such reasonable terms that will enable MSD and the start-up to commercialise potential product offerings. There’s opportunity in finding product market fit and sharing value between MSD and the start-ups depending on what problems we need to solve at any one time. The research and innovation potential is very exciting and we can learn a great deal from the start-ups and the process itself. We also envisage using the programme to evoke further entrepreneurship within our own organisation.

Will MSD take equity from the start-up or a share of revenue?

No. However, MSD may exercise the right of first negotiation for potential commercialisation opportunities.

What happens after the acceleration programme ends?

Wayra Wayra UK has an active alumni community, who return each month to provide updates and take full advantage of the networking opportunities available at many of Wayra’s events. They too utilise the academy in Central London to run their own events and hold meetings. It is our belief that those graduating from Velocity Health will go on and make a profound difference and proof-point the potential of what acceleration can do in reimagining healthcare services and delivery. MSD In return for the investment made by MSD in partnership with Wayra, MSD will have a right of first negotiation with selected start-up companies. If MSD elects to exercise this right, it will allow MSD to negotiate such reasonable terms that will enable MSD and the start-up to commercialise potential product offerings. There is also the potential to continue to provide access to our networks locally and globally, which may help in the scalability of the start-up.


        • You must be developing a digital product or service that meets the challenges set. Full definition can be found within the FAQs.

        • In return for the investment made by MSD in partnership with Wayra, MSD will have a right of first negotiation with selected start-up companies. If MSD elects to exercise this right, it will allow MSD to negotiate such reasonable terms that will enable MSD and the start-up to commercialise potential product offerings.

        • Full terms and conditions can be found within via this link (please ignore deadline dates within this document): https://goo.gl/2AypPB

Reporting Adverse Experiences

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