Telefonica, the multinational telecommunications provider, has launched the first TOF Global Race, a competition aimed at finding great startups that are struggling to succeed.

The competition is part of the company’s Open Future innovation platform, which connects entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors and public and private partners from all around the world to invest in projects and give advice to new startups.

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Telefonica will assess online applications from thousands of startups that have an innovative technological project or use emerging technologies. It said that startups should be making no income or have less than 1,000 users. On January 15, votes will be counted, and the most popular projects will be placed on a final shortlist. A panel of experts will choose the winner on January 31.

The winner hopefully gets some investor love

The winner will receive an invitation to Four Years From Now (4YFN), an entrepreneurial forum, where they will be able to present the project to the public.

Throughout the competition, Telefonica wants startups to be active on its Open Future network, raising awareness for their project and trying to interest investors. This could be good experience for young startups that may have never held a funding round.

Exposure at the 4YFN forum could lead to increased investor interest, and the investors attending the event tend to be better at nurturing startups and making them successful.

Telefonica is one of the largest multinationals in Europe and has stakes in Brazil, China, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the past few years, it has tried to diversify its business; this program being part of the process.