Happening for the 5th consecutive year, the CIMA Launch Pad 2018, which is organized by the CIMA Students Society, aims to be a platform that nurtures upcoming entrepreneurs. In the past, we’ve seen startups like Bear Appeal, Omentra, and Greasemonkey come out of it. So what can we expect this year? That’s what we went to find out at the Preliminary Rounds. Here’s what we saw.
The first startup we saw at the CIMA Launch Pad 2018 Preliminary Round was Infinity. It offered a gamified loyalty platform for customers by the same name. The startup built it to help marketing managers attract and retain customers. The startup aims to be the go-to place for marketing tools and building digital loyalty. Currently, they’re aiming to launch by December 2018.
The next startup we saw was in the tourism business. It was building an app to help its users find tour guides online. They’re doing so because they found that many tourists suffer from unreliable tour guides. The aims to fix this by simply having a review system for tour guides. While simple, the effectiveness can be questionable until it scales up.
Afterward, we saw another e-commerce website. KitGro is primarily focused on food and kitchen needs. Furthermore, they primarily source their items from micro-vendors. Thus far, they’ve been in operation for 2 months and have 50 vendors working with them. Their revenue model at the moment consists of a registration fee, a daily subscription, a 10% transaction fee, and an incentive for reviews.
The fourth startup we saw at the CIMA Launch Pad Preliminary Rounds wanted to eliminate queues. To that end, they built an app that allows you to digitally reserve your space in a queue. However, at the moment they’re not focused on a particular market. Furthermore, they’re later looking at offering bus and train tickets through the app. Once their pitch ended, the judges recommended that they focus on market validation at this point in time.
Ananke IoT solutions
As their name suggests, this is a startup that wants to make IoT simple. To that end, Ananke offers an IoT gateway and cloud platform to manage your devices. Through this platform, you can manage data storage, processing, view analytics, utilize machine learning and more. Their gateway device supports up to 100 IoT devices and is priced at $100. Whereas the full package with analytics costs $15,000.
The next startup we saw stated that it would be focused in Arugam Bay. It aims to make traveling safer while helping tourists manage their expenses and overcome language barriers. At the same time, it also wants to assist local merchants to find customers. Thus, they’re building an app that offers travel advice along with rooms in local Bed and Breakfasts. Additionally, Backpacker also aims to launch a magazine to generate revenue.
Afterward, we saw a startup in the education space. Viduhala.lk was a startup that offered digital content to school students. Currently, it’s a non-profit that builds content and donates it to school. While much of the content is built for PC’s it’s now being redesigned for mobile platforms. Additionally, they’re also looking towards exploring AR and VR content.
Later we saw ERA, which was a one-man startup in the tourism industry. It aims to offer information to tourists through augmented reality. This would be in the form of a modified arrival card that is given to tourists at the airport. That’s it.
This is a startup that aimed to make tuition classes more effective. Initially, it aims to simply be a system that helps teachers manage attendance. The students would receive a card. The teachers can then mark attendance with a mobile app. Afterward, they want to improve the learning experiences inside the classes using machine learning. Currently, their system is being used by 4000 students from 2 teachers and an institute.
Here’s a startup that we’ve seen quite actively participate in many competitions. DirectPay offers a cashless payment platform that uses QR codes by merchants. So when you want to pay for something, you just scan a QR code. Since we last met them, they’ve built a POS terminal and have official approval from the Central Bank.
Park and Pay
This is another startup that we’ve seen actively at competitions. The app allows you to find and reserve a parking space. These can be both public parking spaces and private ones. That means if you have some open land, you can then rent it out using Park and Pay. Furthermore, the app also allows you to pay for parking attendants through the app.
Afterward, the next startup we saw was a carpooling app. Seats had an app that operated with a gamified system where that rewards drivers. Furthermore, passengers can pay less since the cost of the ride is shared. As with other ride-sharing apps, Seats would take a small commission from the driver’s earnings.
This startup at CIMA Launch Pad 2018 wanted to optimize airport taxis. They shared that airport taxis may travel as far as Galle. But having traveled so far, the drivers earn nothing on their way back. Thus, they want to help drivers get passengers for a trip on the way back. Thus, hopefully making the overall taxi trips cheaper. In exchange for this, Less Taxi would take a commission from the trips.
They had built what was described as a smart power bank. It was one that monitors the battery level on your phone and other factors. The team stated that they’d buy the part for it from China, assemble it in Sri Lanka, and then sell it globally. Furthermore, it can be attached to a phone. However, the judges were confused as to how exactly it was smart since all it did was monitor the battery level.
The very next startup we saw pitch at the CIMA Launch Pad 2018 Preliminary Rounds also had a power bank. This one could be charged using a small winding mechanism. While it could be used to charge your phone, the team boldly stated it could be used to charge AAA batteries as well. Ultimately, the judges asked the team to look deeper into the technical feasibility of their idea.
Afterward, we saw Avina, which wants to utilize holograms for advertising purposes in Sri Lanka. This is why they’re selling large hologram displays for advertising purposes. Through an app, users can control the display and also utilize facial recognition to identify customers. Avina itself makes money selling displays, creating content for these displays and maintaining them. The displays themselves range from Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 225,000.
The final startup we saw at the CIMA Launch Pad 2018 Preliminary Rounds was Quick Bill. What they’ve built is a POS system for medium-sized businesses. Alongside cash, payments can also be made using QR codes. For this, customers would need to have the relevant apps on their phones. For every transaction conducted, Quick Bill would take a 0.1% commission. However, the judges were confused as to what problem they were trying to solve.
So what’s next?
CIMA Launch Pad 2018 has a lot of startups focused on the travel sector. But which of these startups will move onto the latter stages of the program to become the winner? That’s something we’ll find out in the coming weeks so stay tuned!