Disrupt Asia 2016 Part One: The startups we saw

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Last week, we saw Sri Lanka’s first startup conference: Disrupt Asia. Organized by ICTA, this was a massive celebration of the entrepreneurship and the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. The conference lasted only one day, but it was brilliantly organized with so many amazing sessions. In fact, there’s so many that we can’t write about Disrupt Asia in a single article. And so we decided to break up our story of Disrupt Asia into different parts.

To start off this series, we thought of looking at the different startups that were at Disrupt Asia. After all, the stars of a startup conference are the startups in attendance. Approximately 35 startups had stalls and made their pitch to the many attendees at Disrupt Asia. Sadly, we couldn’t speak to all of them with everything going on at Disrupt Asia. But somehow we were able to speak to most of them. Here’s all the startups we saw at Disrupt Asia and what they had to offer.

Thrively.io

Mudith Uswatta from Calcey pitching Thrively.io at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
Mudith Uswatta from Calcey pitching Thrively.io at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

Thrively is a SASS platform from Calcey. It’s meant for project based workflow management tool for agencies and consultancy to help them easily manage all activities related to clients. It comes with a mini-CRM, a high-level project management tool and accounting tools. Essentially it provides a single platform that has everything needed to run the company. But how much does it cost? According to Calcey, if you get it now it’s only $10 per month for the whole company.

Katha

The Katha team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
The Katha team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

By now you’ve probably heard of Katha. But in case you haven’t, Katha is a Sri Lankan startup building a social platform for your voice. Its founders have had an interesting journey, which you can find here. So what’s new with Katha? Besides winning award after award, it’s getting a big update. In addition to revamping the user interface, the Katha team is also working on web app to manage your account. It’s still in the works but the demo we saw at Disrupt Asia was impressive.

eZuite

eZuite is the latest offering from a growing Sri Lankan startup called Enhanzer. This is a cloud based business integrated platform. With it, businesses can manage supplies, inventory, sales and a bunch of other activities. Today, eZuite is approximately 7 months old but it’s built on top of the expertise Enhanzer has gained building various ERP systems over the years. In the near future, the team plans to add a dashboard to make it easier for users to enter queries and find data.

Emojot

The Emojot team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
The Emojot team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

Emojot helps capture, visualize, and respond to audience sentiment in real-time. Its cross platform capability allows for embedding or sharing sensors, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. If you ever want to have real data about whether people enjoy an event, then you should check them out.

Grubz

The Grubz team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The Grubz team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Grubz is an app that wants to help you fill your stomach. The app takes your GPS location and shows deals for food being offered by registered restaurants. To redeem a deal, all you need to do is select a deal and you get a QR code which you show the restaurants to get the deal. But how long does a deal last? Well that’s up to the restaurants. Some deals can last days and some only a few hours. When we spoke to the team behind Grubz at Disrupt Asia, we learned that they had only launched the app a week ago. Yet, the team already has 35 restaurants onboard including Dominos. That’s an impressive start.

YouSnap

YouSnap is a mobile app from a Sri Lankan startup known as Evansel. It’s an app that can be used to remotely access sensors and phone belonging to another person. That is, assuming if they give their consent of course. Evansel has already found clients such as insurance companies and system administrators using it.

ShoutOut

ShoutOut is a platform to send emails and texts for a business to its customers in bulk. This was what the organizers of Disrupt Asia used to communicate with the attendees. According it’s makers Square Mobile, its biggest selling point is that ShoutOut can send automated and personalized messages.

Synergen

The synergen team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The synergen team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Synergen is a Sri Lankan startup building IoT products. At Disrupt Asia we saw two of their products on display. The first was a device aimed at doctors in hospitals. The device captures ECG signals of a person and then transmits the signal to a phone. From the phone, the signals are sent to a remote server and then to the doctors directly to simplify the analysis process. Another product they had on display was a device that similarly collected motion data from sensors before sending it to a server.

Mogo solutions

If you’re a regular follower of the local startup scene, then chances are you’ve heard of Mogo Solutions. This startup is famous for producing one cool app after another. In fact, it’s a casual joke in ReadMe that one day we’ll have a category called Mogo because of the amount of apps they produce.

So what did they showcase at Disrupt Asia? Another new app! This time, the folks over at Mogo built an AP application that scans and creates a 3D model of you. The app then shows how different clothes will look on you based on the model. In other news, we are one step closer to considering making a category called Mogo.

Lawenvoy

Lawenvoy is a Sri Lankan startup that wants to help lawyers. It aims to do so by with its ambitious web application, which is in beta right now. According to the team, this app will allow lawyers to easily manage their many cases. But the real beast is beneath the surface. Lawenvoy also provides analytics for lawyers by analyzing past cases and judgements to help lawyers make decisions.

Senzmate

Senzmate is a Jaffna based startup building IoT devices. When we last saw them, they were building things to help make the lives of farmers easier. When we met them again at Disrupt Asia, we found that they’ve expanded. They’ve gone from helping farms to building devices for cars, logistics management and a lot more. Additionally, they’re also building devices to help create a smart home. Needless to say, Senzmate seems to be doing very well these days.

PayHere

When PayHere first appeared, to say everyone was excited would have been an understatement. For years, we heard promises that PayPal would be coming. Then we heard Stripe would be coming. Yet, nothing materialized and Sri Lankan e-commerce was still at the mercy of horrible payment gateways. Enter PayHere, a Sri Lankan startup offering a locally built solution that promised to solve all our woes.

PayHere at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
PayHere at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

So what’s been happening with PayHere since its debut? Well, they’ve been forming partnerships. When we spoke to them at Disrupt Asia, we found that they’ve partnered up with quite a few banks and approximately 300 merchants. PayHere is currently in open beta and you can sign up for it here.

Authantex

This is a Sri Lankan startup offering a biometric authentication platform. Authantex, offers a platform that takes your fingerprint to add an extra layer of security to online banking. In doing so, the team says they offer 3 factor protection: password, fingerprint which you enter via your phone and your fingerprint itself. Speaking to the team at Disrupt Asia, we learned that they’re currently in discussions with Commercial Bank.

Paraqum technologies

Paraqum technologies is a Sri Lankan startup that has an interesting introduction. This is a startup focuses on low volume but high market potential products. What exactly do they mean by low volume but high market potential products?

The ParaQum team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
The ParaQum team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

Well, a look at their offerings on display at Disrupt Asia helps give a better idea. Their main product is a 4K HEVC décor which the team proudly claims to have been the first in the world to be built. They also have an encoder and a HEVC contribution link. Additionally, they also offer networking solutions. These solutions include a setup box that helps optimize a network.

NicNac

Chances are that if you’re on Facebook, then you probably know what NicNac is. But in case you’re lost, NicNac is the latest venture by the folks at Erbenlab. This is a service that is all about giving you practically anything you want. Want some kottu? Ask NicNac. Want some soap? Ask NicNac. Feeling drunk and want a ride home? Ask NicNac. Yup, there’s a lot you can get from NicNac.

Sachira Fernando - founder of Erbenlab at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
Sachira Fernando – founder of Erbenlab at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

You can find our original review of NicNac here. What’s changed with NicNac since? They deliver stuff to and from Singapore. Yes, NicNac now delivers stuff from shops in Singapore. They also export stuff from Sri Lanka to Singapore as well. It’s safe to say that NicNac is seeing some rapid expansion. Speaking to the Erbenlab team at Disrupt Asia, we learned that there’s still more exciting plans in the works.

Siplo

Siplo is a Sri Lankan startup bringing the digital revolution to tuition classes. Rather than conducting lessons in a physical classroom, Siplo eliminates it. Instead, Siplo offers both students and lecturer’s the simplicity of a virtual classroom. When we last saw Siplo, its founder Buddhika Jayawardhana was a finalist at the GSEA Global Finals.

Speaking to his team at Disrupt Asia, we learned that they’ve added new teaching materials and implemented different measures to help save data on videos. In the near future, the team hopes to have 100 students using the platform by the end of August.

Agaya Holdings

Agaya Holdings at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
Agaya Holdings at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

Agaya Holdings as the name suggests, has a lot to its name. However, at Disrupt Asia we saw only one of their products: a financial portal. The purpose of this portal was to simplify stock investment. To do so, the system would first take data from balance sheets, quarterly reports and other such business documents. Agaya’s platform then standardizes all the different labels in these documents. Afterwards, you Agaya claims you can then compare companies based on different queries.

4Axis Solutions

Back when we first met 4Axis Solutions, they were very successful with their app: Drawing Desk. Today, this Sri Lankan startup has expanded and built some new apps, which we saw at Disrupt Asia. One such new app is CameraAxis, which allows you easily create designs based on certain templates. It’s very similar to Canva but the difference here is that you’ll be paying to use most of the templates. Another app is Craft-A-Case, which is more of a service integrated into 4Axis’ other apps.  With Craft-A-Case, users can design their own custom phone cases.

BizPay

The BizPay team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)
The BizPay team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunwaradane)

BizPay is a local Sri Lankan startup, we first met at Infotel 2015. They too like many others saw that local payment gateways were inaccessible to small businesses. As such, BizPay offered to be the middle man, giving businesses access to different cashless payment methods for a cheap price. So what has BizPay been up to since Infotel? Well, they’ve been slowly growing. When we met the team at Disrupt Asia we learned they recently got approved to accept payments via AMEX and now see regular transactions.

AdroitLogic

AdroitLogic is a Sri Lankan startup with their main offering being an Enterprise Service bus or ESB. In case you’re lost, an ESB acts as a translator between different protocols used to transmit data. With this ESB, Adroit Logic has built a few applications such as API management tools.

Bus booking.lk

Here’s a Sri Lankan startup trying to disrupt public transport. As the name suggests, Bus Bookking.lk is a reservation system for buses. You can enter your starting and ending point and it’ll show you buses on that route. It then shows all busses and then make reservations. Currently, it’s only available for long distance buses.

3D Concept Studio

The 3D Concept Studio team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The 3D Concept Studio team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

To this day, 3D Concept Studio is one of the coolest Sri Lankan startups. Why? Because they’re the only ones doing 3D printing in Sri Lanka. The first time we met them, we were blown away. Sadly, with everything happening at Disrupt Asia, we couldn’t check them out. But they had a cool stall with a 3D printer, a few hands and a bunch of other cool stuff on display.

HypeHash

The HypeHash team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The HypeHash team at Disrupt Asia (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Hype Hash was probably one of the youngest startups at Disrupt Asia. This is a startup offering an e-commerce platform for designers that revolves around popular social events. We first saw them in action at AngelHack last month, where they were crowned the winners. Today, they’ve successfully gone through AngelHack’s accelerator program. They are now among AngelHack’s top 20 teams and will be representing Sri Lanka at the AngelHack demo day happening in San Francisco. HypeHash maybe young, but it’s growing fast.

The rest of Disrupt Asia

As we mentioned earlier, 35 startups were at Disrupt Asia and we sadly couldn’t meet all of them. Nonetheless, Disrupt Asia did an amazing job by giving the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem a platform to showcase its offerings. Stay tuned for more folks. This is merely scratching the surface of Disrupt Asia.

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