CIMA Launch Pad 2016: Path To The Grand Finale


Following up on the first workshop for CIMA Launch Pad 2016 which was held a couple of weeks back, contestants underwent their 2nd workshop as the program inched towards the final stage. This was of course followed by a session of mock pitches, in which the 4 finalists were selected from the 10 teams.

The customer is your best friend

The day started off with Dhanushka Fernando, Director of Future Works taking stage. Dhanushka briefed the audience on what MAS Innovations is all about, and how Future Works in particular operate. He broke this down to 3 main focus areas, what’s needed, what’s possible and what’s required.

Dhanushka went on to explain why its important to engage with your end consumer. The fact remains that you must allow your consumers to help you create your business. Having a fixed opinion when it comes to your business idea may not be a healthy option. Its vital that you know your consumer at an intimate level, so that you know exactly what the customer wants. Dhanushka highlighted this point with the shethinx video, a product that MAS came up with in collaboration with

CIMA Launch Pad 2016
(Image Credits: Lahiru Perera)

Before concluding his session, the audience was left with a few pointers on the keys to success when it comes to your business ideas. According to Dhanushka these are,

  • Inventions are not innovations
  • Open innovation – faster and cheaper
  • Consumer is the key
  • Constantly test and validate your hypothesis
  • Pivot
  • Learn from your failures and don’t be afraid to fail
  • Focusing on the execution of your idea is vital

Open innovation and idea validation

Next up we saw Sithila Dassanayake, Head of Open Innovation Hub grab the mic. So why do we need open innovation? This is the question Sithila aimed to answer. When it comes to open innovation, basically the entire world becomes your resource pool. According to Sithila, collaboration also plays a role in open innovation. Its important to ensure that it’s a win-win situation for both parties. This is why having Samsung components in the iPhone actually works.

CIMA Launch Pad 2016
(Image Credits: Lahiru Perera)

Given the choice, would you rather have the best product, or the right product? Following up on Sithila’s session, we had Vishwa talk about Lumo Run, one of the products from MAS Innovations. Echoing what Dhanushka and Sithila said earlier, Vishwa highlighted on the importance of idea validation and why it works so well.

The PickMe perspective

Last but not least we had Fatthi Mohamed from PickMe share his thoughts with the 10 teams. Talking about PickMe’s own journey, Fatthi explained the company’s process and what really worked for them until now. He also pointed out why getting the right team and the right talent plays a crucial role in how one would go about their startup. For example, having a talent acquirer and a data scientist at PickMe helps them handle recruitment better, and seek growth opportunities for the company, says Fatthi.

CIMA Launch Pad 2016
(Image Credits: Lahiru Perera)

By now, most teams had only one question in mind for Fatthi. How hard was it for PickMe to get seed funding? The answer, 4 days. According to Fatthi, it all comes down to getting your basics done quickly when it comes to your startup idea.

The mock pitches

Having served refreshments shortly afterwards, the day’s proceedings moved on to the mock pitches. Here, the 10 teams were required to make a 5-minute mock pitch to a panel of judges, followed up by a Q&A session. The judges would then go on to pick the best 4 from the list, in which 2 will be selected to attend SLUSH in the process. In case you’re lost, SLUSH is one of Europe’s leading startup and technology events that takes place in Helsinki, Finland over the course of 2 days.

As the teams made their pitches once more, the panel offered their insights on the ideas, with the Q&As proving to be quite the interactive session. Most of the teams seemed to have made a few tweaks from their initial pitches. But certain questions were still left answered for the judges. Questions like how the product pricing would work and how soon the teams planned on scaling their startups over time (in case you’re wondering, 5 years may not be the right answer), could perhaps have had more refined answers.

CIMA Launch Pad 2016
(Image Credits: Lahiru Perera)

So who made it to CIMA Launch Pad 2016 finals?

Ideas were pitched and insights were shared. But ultimately only 4 teams would be making it to the grand finale of CIMA Launch Pad 2016. So here are they are,

  1. Novitas – MagD, a highly water absorbent organic fertilizer
  2. Octave – NextBus, location tracking app for buses
  3. SAS Ninja Labs – iWrap, wearable designed to detect a driver’s drowsiness
  4. Wildcards – wearable that identifies currency, emotions and optical character, at the click of a button.

Among these 4 finalists, team SAS Ninja Labs and Wildcards will also have the opportunity of attending SLUSH as well. So what’s next for CIMA Launch Pad 2016? Stay tuned, as we bring you the very latest!


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