It’s a given fact that the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem is a young one. Nonetheless, it is one that is growing and there’s a new accelerator that wants to help it grow faster. StartupX Foundry is the newest startup accelerator in Colombo. Their aim is to provide Sri Lankan entrepreneurs with the resources they need to build great products with their network of global partners.
In doing so, they want to accelerate the journey startups going from inspiration to a successful exit. The chairman of this new accelerator is Dumindra Ratnayake – the former CEO of Etisalat. Alongside him, you’ll find Mano Sekaram – Founder & CEO of 99X Technology, Pete Deemer – Founder & CEO of Good Agile, and Dag Honningsvåg – Chairman of Driw AS, Bylineme and WindSim AS. Currently, there are four startups that are a part of this accelerator. After a visit to their office, here’s what we learned about these startups.
Selling Norwegian fish in China was what led to the birth of this startup. In China, people tend to have issues in trusting farmers due to the poor quality of food. To solve problems like these in various industries globally was why Tracified was born. Their primary goal is to tell you the journey of how your product was created and then sold to you. For example: if you buy a phone, then with Tracified you would know where parts for it were sourced from, where and how it was assembled, and how it was shipped to you.
So how does it work? It begins by integrating Tracified into the E-Commerce platform utilized by the business. Afterwards, the data is constantly updated manually by a person involved at each stage of creating a particular product. Alternatively, this process can be automated via IoT devices as well. Once the product reaches the customer, there’s a QR code they can scan to know the journey a product went through to be created. The only catch seems to be that the platform doesn’t have any measures to validate the data.
This startup is a maker space with a mission to help people become innovators. To achieve this mission, they adopt a practical approach to teaching kids how to build products with technology. And by technology, we mean basic parts lying around the house. We found many examples of such products including a programmable robot built by a 13 year old on their table at the StartupX Foundry launch.
And this is where we are reminded that IgniterSpace isn’t a brand new startup. We met them last year under a different name: KidsIgnite. They changed their name as they wanted to go beyond helping kids become innovators. They saw that there was a larger market that included the likes of undergraduates interested in joining the program. Thus, the name was changed and their problem solving based education program was made available to more curious minds.
Of course, it’s not only the name that’s changed. Today, IgniterSpace has 30 volunteers that conduct their educational programs. They also have three centers with one being located in Narhenpitiya, another in Gampaha, and one more in Negombo. Additionally, they’ve also gone to schools and conducted countless workshops on building products for students across the country.
Building on this success, they’ve launched IgniterBee, which is a home maker space. This is a subscription based program where IgniterSpace sends monthly care packages. The subscriptions range from Rs.4000 per month to Rs.3000 for six months. These care packages contain materials and instructions on how these materials can be used to build something. These are primarily aimed at kids who are located in rural areas and in the international markets.
Today, IgniterSpace has approximately 800 students enrolled in its program and counting with three education centers. Tomorrow, they hope to increase that number and have 20 education centers across the island by 2020.
The most valuable asset a business has is its employees. The knowledge and skills these employees bring to the table are what allows a company to create value for its clients. However, at some point, every company has experienced the loss of talented employees. To help reduce the negative impact of such a loss is what Maturify aims to do.
Maturify aims to take the knowledge employees have and create models for different areas. This means the platform would take the knowledge every member of the marketing team has and create a model for them. Similarly, another model would be created that stores the knowledge of every employee in the finance department. Once these models have been made and assigned to the relevant teams, Maturify will also track and visualize the transfer of knowledge.
In a nutshell, Maturify aims to be a massive database that stores everything your employees know about doing their job. In the event an employee leaves, then this platform would have everything you would need to quickly train a new employee. At the moment, Maturify is still a very young startup with the product still in beta with one Norwegian company: Adara.
EarnShark is a startup that wants to help create apps faster. To do so, they want to take over the business operations of apps. This is where their SAAS (Software as a Service) licensing platform comes into the picture. This platform helps simplify the entire process of creating and implementing subscriptions for software services.
To be precise, you can integrate EarnShark into their SAAS application with their API. Once integrated, it’s possible to design licenses for SAAS applications. Afterwards, EarnShark would manage the creation of accounts, accept payments, and enforce the licenses. The platform currently supports both Stripe and PayPal to accept payments.
In a nutshell, EarnShark is the middleman between your customers and your SAAS application. Currently, the platform is still in its early stages. Nonetheless, they do have a few customers. These customers are the Norwegian companies: CoverYa and Boligmappa.
How can you be a part of StartupX Foundry?
Well, the answer to that is pretty simple. If you’re an entrepreneur with a young startup then all you have to do is simply fill out this form. After the StartupX Foundry team evaluates your answers, they’ll get in touch with you on how to proceed with things moving forward. But entrepreneurs aren’t the only people StartupX Foundry is interested in meeting.
If you’re interested in being a mentor to startups, you can do so by filling out this form. You can also become an angel investor to the startups of this accelerator by filling out this form. But if you want to adopt a hands-on approach to help the startups, you can do so by filling out this form to become a crafter. If you’re looking to join the initiative in a different role, you can swing by their office and have a chat with Aloka Gunasekara – the Program Manager of StartupX Foundry.
What’s next for StartupX Foundry?
The accelerator aims to become the link between Sri Lankan startups and international markets. To achieve this aim, they will be helping their startups explore and realize their disruptive potential by taking them to the global marketplace. And our startup ecosystem could always use more accelerators like StartupX Foundry. Why? Because it’s still young and growing. So if you want to be a part of StartupX Foundry, drop by their office or fill out the forms on their website.