Contributor Profile

Gary Stewart

Job TitleCEO

Company NameWayra UK, Telefonica Open Innovation


Gary has spent the last 20 years learning, practicing and teaching all aspects of entrepreneurial life. He began his career in 2000, working as a corporate lawyer at a series of Magic Circle firms across New York, London and Spain. He specialised in private mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. 

In 2005, Gary founded his own tech start-up that raised $4 million and was eventually purchased by an Australian competitor in 2016 and was in turn acquired by a Japanese competitor in 2018 for approximately $140 million. Gary then became a professor teaching entrepreneurship at IE Business School in 2010; ranked third in Europe by the Financial Times and third globally outside of the US by Forbes. 

In 2011, he helped to launch one of the world's largest accelerator programmes, Wayra, backed by one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, Telefónica (better known in the UK as O2). Wayra operates directly in 10 countries and indirectly in 7 more; investing in more than 800 start-ups globally and incubated 800 more.

As Director of Wayra Spain, Gary helped to develop the initial pilot programme in Madrid and since 2014 has been Managing Director of Wayra in the UK and Ireland, which has invested in 180 start-ups that have raised over $200 million in third-party funding and won 117 pilots, contracts and trials with Telefónica worth more than $15 million. 

Gary currently sits on the board of Governors at the University of East London and supports Amos Bursary Scholars by Mentorship and employment.


Conference Sessions

  • UNWTO & WTM Ministers' Summit: Technology for Rural Development

    Tuesday11:00 - 13:005 Nov 2019
    WTM Global Stage

    The UNWTO & Ministers' Summit will provide a truly practical platform for tourism leaders of the public and private sectors to share best practices and explore ...

    • Language: English