Telefónica has launched Telefónica Tech Ventures as a new vehicle for its cybersecurity-related investments. Telefónica Tech Ventures is out of the starter blocks with a portfolio of nine invested startups with investment plans for up to 15 more over the course of the next three years.
Telefónica Tech Ventures is under the auspices of Telefónica's cybersecurity division ElevenPaths, which in turn is part of Telefónica Tech, and Telefónica Innovation Ventures (TIV), the latter of which is the company’s corporate venture capital arm.
Cybersecurity needs to continually evolve to keep pace with the rapid rate of change in security threats by bad actors. Security is even more important today as more users have left the security perimeters of their office spaces to "work from anywhere" due to the global pandemic.
"This vehicle will enable us to detect new opportunities for cooperation with disruptive startups at an early stage and add their capabilities to ElevenPaths’ innovative skills, allowing us to continue to offer our customers ground-breaking products and services," said ElvenPaths CEO Pedro Pablo Pérez, in a statement.
Telefónica Tech Ventures has a two-fold mission statement. The first is to develop its own investment capabilities in the ever-evolving cybersecurity sector, which, according to some estimates, will attract more than $8 billion in investments globally this year.
Secondly, Telefónica Tech Ventures is on the prowl to find up and coming startups in the cybersecurity field. Employees from ElevenPaths and TIV will lead Telefónica Tech Ventures' search for finding new cybersecurity startups to invest in.
The current roster of nine startups was picked from the portfolio of TIV and Wayra, the latter of which is Telefónica's global innovation hub. The potential 15 companies that will be targeted over the next three years will include early stage startups as well as vendors that are farther along on their funding rounds.
Telefónica said the new investments would be geared towards startups with "high disruptive potential" in areas such as threat intelligence, cloud security, data protection and the applications of automation and artificial intelligence.
The focus of the investments will be on the strategic markets for Telefónica, which include Spain, Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom, and other large technological markets, such as the United States and Israel, with an investment ticket of up to 6 million euros.
Telefónica Tech Ventures will also target startups that can complement the ElevenPaths product portfolio, integrate new capabilities into the company and potentially establish themselves as M&A opportunities. Telefónica Tech has more than 1,500 cybersecurity employees around the world.