The young student entrepreneurs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Startup Labs (MIT GSL) Programme received the chance to see the realization of a successful startup and receive one-on-one expert advice at the second annual Anything.lk Day.
MIT GSL was founded to foster development in emerging markets by encouraging entrepreneurship through an intensive 7 week incubator programme. The entrepreneurs of this year’s Sri Lankan programme are IT students of the University of Moratuwa, formed into five teams of four to six people. Anything.lk has been a long time supporter of the programme, each year offering crucial feedback to the teams from a position of experience.
Anything.lk Day consisted of a visited to the physical manifestation of the named online company: the sole storefront and corporate office in Colombo. The office is loud, filled with the sounds of music and coworkers discussing. The atmosphere is admittedly more playful than studious. All of the company’s 100+ employees work in one room, with windows lining the wall, a spacious kitchen, and a conference room regularly taken over by developers. Individuals who want isolation wear over-the-ear headphones; they look focused and content.
CEO Reeza Zarook welcomed the teams of students in a larger, unoccupied conference room. He gave a brief 20 minute talk about the business world, stressing, above all else, success comes with repeated failure and experience. “Failure doesn’t mean you’re bad,” he asserted, “It means your assumptions are wrong.”
The GSL students then were divided into their teams, and given 30 minutes to discuss their company with the Chief Technical Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Search Engine Optimizer, User Experience Manager andGrowth Hacker. These Anything.lk leaders were prepped that morning with an executive summary of each team’s company, so they could dive into pointed questions and advice. The discussions were held at the desks of each mentor throughout the office space.
The mentorship of Anything.lk came exactly a week and a day before the MIT GSL Launch Day. This year, Launch Day lands on Thursday the 1st of August. During the event each team will launch the first version of their product to a panel of judges and investors. The three winning teams will receive one year membership from SLASSCOM.
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