One of the biggest events in 2016 for the tech industry was when the first Seedstars Colombo was held. In case you’re lost, Seedstars is a global organization based in Switzerland promotes, connects and invests up to $1 million USD in emerging market startups. The organization does this through their startup competition, which is held in over 60 countries. In 2016, one of those countries was Sri Lanka and the winner at this local competition was LayUp. And recently they went onto become a global finalist at the final round that was the Seedstars Summit 2017.
LayUp is a startup that wants to make corporate training sessions actually helpful. Rather than focusing on training from a management-centric approach, LayUp aims that helps create a learner-centric approach. It does this using their platform that eliminates lengthy PDF documents and cumbersome binders for a great user experience where content is easily accessible.
Additionally, much of the learning process with LayUp is designed to fun and interactive. This is done through the use of various games with rewards and along with social features for peer-supported learning. Furthermore, LayUp identifies performance based on the learner’s interactivity, time spent on the application and other criteria. This is because direct question based exams are a bad way of measuring performance.
All this content on the LayUp platform can be customized as per the needs of the organization. But most importantly, LayUp helps make all this information available for organizations for a mere $100. A bargain since there are organizations that spend anywhere between $200 to $100,000 to keep their employees well trained and talented.
Following their win at Seedstars Colombo, LayUp was the startup that represented Sri Lanka at one of five regional summits organized by Seedstars. LayUp was among the winners at the Seedstars Regional Summit in Asia and went onto the global stage at the Seedstars Summit 2017. This is where the competition got intense.
The Seedstars Summit 2017 was recently held in Switzerland over the course of four days. This is an event where over 70 startups from some of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world compete against each other. They compete against each other for the chance of having $1,000,000 invested into their budding startups. Of course, that’s merely scratching the surface of what happens over the course of these four days.
The first two days saw an intensive boot camp that was held at the SwissTech Convention Centre. Every participating startup took part in this bootcamp. Over the course of two days, the startups were treated to many mentoring sessions that were aimed at helping them grow. The first focused on specific industry groups where mentors examined and gave feedback as a whole on the business models and financial stability of the startups. The second day was designed around intensive one-on-one sessions.
Following this bootcamp was the semi-finals. At these semi-finals, every startup including LayUp gave a one minute pitch describing their startups. But this one minute pitch wasn’t your ordinary pitch. This semi-final pitch was given at the Seedstars Investor Forum, where the pitches were judged not only by a panel of judges but also the 106 investors in attendance.
If any of the investors in attendance liked a startup they were able to schedule a meeting later on. This is why the semi-final pitches were so important. Ultimately 458 organized meetings between investors and startups took place after the semi-finals. During the investor meetings, one of the nominated startups was LayUp.
Finally, it all came to a close on the following day. On the 6th of April 2017, the main event of the Seedstars Summit 2017 kicked off. The main event featured a series of workshops that covered a broad range of topics from Food tech to Bio-hacking to Ecommerce. But most importantly, this was where the winner of Seedstars World 2017 was to be crowned.
Alas, the first startup to represent Sri Lanka wasn’t the winner. However, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t put up a tough fight. LayUp was one of the global finalists that took the stage and represented Sri Lanka at the Seedstars Summit 2017. And that in itself is quite a feat when we remember that this is a competition with startups from over 60 countries applying. Congratulations LayUp. You’ve made Sri Lanka proud and left its mark on the global stage.
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