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    Bakcell’s “AppLab” acceleration programme signs partnership with Wayra UK, Telefonica OpenFuture’s digital accelerator, to help scale start-ups in Azerbaijan

    Bakcell, The First Mobile Operator and The Leading Mobile Internet Provider of  Azerbaijan, has launched a new partnership with Wayra UK. The partnership will allow start-ups being accelerated by AppLab to gain access to an international network of mentors, experts, companies, public entities and investors, through Telefónica OpenFuture, the open programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefónica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation. The ambition for Bakcell is to multiply the possibilities of scalability and business development for those Azerbaijani start-ups developing mostly mobile applications. The Telefonica OpenFuture network, which has signed 60+ partnerships with private and public organisations and invested over 500M euros in 600 businesses across 17 countries, wants to grow a global network with which to develop new ideas and expand opportunities for growth. The partnership will also provide Wayra UK a pipeline for entrepreneurial talent in an emerging technology hub. AppLab is an accelerated execution framework at a regional level to support selected developers to drive execution on ideas, mobile apps and technologies from proof of concept to launch. During past year the programme proved itself as a unique environment for young local mobile developer enthusiasts to join and transform their ideas to tangible mobile applications that would have local as well as international exposure. More than 100 ideas were presented within the framework of AppLab to the date with an admission rate of less than 10% seat thus meeting selection criteria to ensure quality of ideas. “Bakcell has been supporting mobile app developers for more than three years by sponsoring and hosting events and competitions. We launched the AppLab program in partnership with the world-renowned tech industry leader Qualcomm, and this year we are taking our commitment even further by announcing our partnership with Wayra UK a startup accelerator part of Telefónica Open Future. We see a lot of synergy in what we are doing to support the developer startup community in Azerbaijan and feel that our partnership will bring even more to developers and entrepreneurs in the app development segment. Wayra has substantial experience in running such programs and has a pool of experts and mentors to support us as well as provide access to global talent and business partners that might consider investing into worthy ideas. They can also share some valuable insights with fellow AppLab’ers”, says Mr. Richard Shearer, Bakcell CEO. “The Azerbaijan start-up scene is booming!” says Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK. “Over the past two years, both the public and private sector has been encouraging further innovation by opening eight incubators and investing more in promoting digital literacy. I’m excited to see what comes out of this ground-breaking partnership”. ***   About Bakcell Bakcell, The First Mobile Operator and the Leading Mobile Internet Provider of Azerbaijan, offers a variety of products for modern mobile communications customers. Bakcell provides class leading 3G and 4G mobile internet experience in the country under the Sür@ brand name. As one of the largest national non-oil investors, Bakcell today continues making large investments in the economy of Azerbaijan through its investments in state-of-the-art telecommunication technology and its people who service our customers. With more than 5000 base stations Bakcell’s network covers more than 99% of the population and 93% of the land area of the country (excluding occupied territories). Bakcell is a leader in innovation and it focuses on bringing the best of the mobile internet to Azerbaijanis through new partnerships and its Sür@ services. Bakcell 3G service is available in all regions and covers 85% of population and 70% of the territory of the country (excluding occupied territories). Following the success of 3G Sür@, the best mobile internet experience during last 4 years, Bakcell has announced the commercial launch of its 4G LTE service, on May 5, 2015, under the 4th  Sür@ brand name. 4th Sür@ provides an essential increase in mobile data speeds and is designed especially for the users, who want to be mobile and have broadband internet everywhere. For more information about Bakcell products and services, please visit or call 555.For press releases please see (or for press releases in English). If you are not a Bakcell subscriber, but wish to find out about Bakcell and its services, please call 055 000 05 55 Wayra UK Wayra UK gives direct funding and acceleration services (such as co-working space, connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra’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 $US70,000 in acceleration services, or an equivalent amount in local currency, in exchange for an equity stake in the companies. Within four years of its launch, Wayra already owns a portfolio of over 500 operating companies, grouped in more than 20 digital industries. The funds contributed by Telefónica to Wayra start-ups exceed €18M, while third parties (public and private funds and angel investors) have contributed funding of over €61M to Wayra start-ups. The estimated valuation of all the companies in the portfolio is already over €500M. Wayra is part of Telefónica Open Future, the open programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefónica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation. @WayraUK Telefonica OpenFuture_ Telefónica OpenFuture_ is Telefónica’s global commitment to develop the talent and entrepreneurship, and since 2014 it coordinate all the groups of Telefónica’s open innovation initiatives, projects and activities (Think Big, Talentum, crowdworking spaces, Wayra, Telefónica Ventures, Amerigo and CIP´s open innovation factory fund). Telefónica OpenFuture_ empowers, and invests in, technology-based people, projects and companies, in any stage of the lifecycle, in open fashion and in connection with private and public organizations. With an investment portfolio of more than 600 startups and offices in 17 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia, Telefónica OpenFuture_ helps turn innovative ideas into successful businesses.