We were at the MAS Innovation Center or to call it by its cooler name “The Hive” for Seedstars Colombo 2017. In case you were wondering, Seedstars is a global organization based in Switzerland that promotes, connects and invests up to $ 1 Million in startups in emerging markets. They are active in more than 50 countries across the world.
With the combined efforts of Startup Sri Lanka, MAS and the ICTA, Seedstars Colombo 2017 was held with a number of interesting startups competing where the winners would go on to take part in the Seedstars Regional Summit and Seedstars Global Summit.
Rosie Kellar, Associate for Seedstars Asia was up on stage first to talk about what Seedstars is and their aims with the concept. She also spoke about what the winning team here can expect to see at the Seedstars regional summit and the Seedstars World Summit. With that, the presentations of the 8 finalists at Seedstars Colombo 2017 began. Each startup would have minutes to present their product, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A by the judges.
First up at Seedstars Colombo 2017 was Alakazam
According to tthe startup, 90% of businesses fail. They fail because they can’t find customers. If you take a small company, for example, they try to get customers and are immediately swarmed by the number of choices they have. This, in turn, means they waste their financial resources on ill-advised marketing strategies. The next option would be to turn to digital marketing agencies. This is where Alakazam comes into play. Alakazam is an intelligent AI bot available on Messenger that can be used by small businesses with their sales and marketing.
The bot links to your FB and IG and asks you a number of questions to find out about your business. It also finds your most commonly used hashtags and from that point guides you through all the steps needed to carry out an online marketing campaign to get more customers. They started development in July 2017 and got their first customer at the end of July. They already have a number of companies working with them with others already in queue.
Next up was DirectPay
We saw DirectPay at Disrupt Asia 2017. The startup offers a cashless payment platform. They would make use of QR codes. How? Well, by replacing bills with QR codes that you can scan and then entering the amount into the system.
If both the merchant and the user are the same bank, then it’s a simple credit/debit process. If it’s a different bank, they would make use of a clearing house. You can pay your supermarket bill, carry out mobile shopping and many more. They would use Lanka Clear as a payments infrastructure provider. In terms of security, the app locks itself to a user’s phone and SIM card so if you change your phone or SIM card, the app will not work.
Mogo Super brings shopping to your fingertips
They start off their presentation by using an example of an HR manager who goes through a tiring process of obtaining products such as food and drinks on a wholesale level. This is where Mogo Super comes into play. This is an online store where you can purchase products from numerous distributors online and have it delivered free to you within 24 hours. They have their own warehouses where they store the products for delivery. They aim for wholesale markets rather than retail markets.
They operate on a subscription basis and are also eco-friendly. They use biodegradable components for packaging and employ fuel efficient transportation methods in terms of electric vehicles. They’ve made over LKR4.5 Milion in revenue and signed up over 40 companies.
BotFactory want to help you create your own bots
Before you ask, no they don’t have a factory that creates robots to take over the world. Rather, they have chatbots. Their key advantage when compared to other platforms is that they allow you to build your very own chatbots without knowing how to code. Just sign in using your Google or Facebook account and choose a template.
From there, create a flowchart on how to handle conversations, and you’re good to go. The chatbot can keep a record of all data gathered which can then be analyzed to identify trends and patterns. After the first free 1000 interactions with the chatbot, the company would be charged $2 per month.
BlueLotus 360 offers a one stop hub with their ERP system
This is a startup that offers their own Cloud based ERP system, catered towards the Construction industry. The system offers complete management of the various activities in an organization from HR to accounting to project management and everything in between.
They offer construction software solutions to each part of the supply chain and also help manage all aspects of a construction process from design, to building and maintenance. The system also includes all the steps required to convert raw material and components to finished goods according to a customer’s specifications and requirements
Jendo wants to save our lives
The team has a specific goal: to get us to live healthier lives. According to research carried out, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the world. Millions of people die due to cardiovascular disease and that number is on the rise. This is what Jendo aims to combat. It is a cloud based preventive healthcare solution that can provide early diagnostic about cardiovascular diseases and help eradicate these problems.
Using their own proprietary algorithm, the team is bent on saving lives. The system aims to identify endothelium changes in a person’s blood vessels and monitor the recovery process of endothelium levels after an illness.
GradChat is a social network for campuses
Campus communication is broken. Even now, campuses communicate via emails. This is not the most efficient method of communication, especially with millennials. GradChat aims to change all that. They call it an official social network for a campus. The platform allows you to access fellow students, alumni and administrative staff via individual, group and public chats.
You can also get conversational noticeboard style announcements and official notifications and alerts by means of push notifications. You also get a live feed of events happening on and off your campus as well. In addition, you can even look for employment from prospective Alumni and access analytics
Omentra is a place to purchase products and services
Omentra is a complete B2B e-Commerce portal that enables businesses to purchase and compare products and services, obtain information and quotations and generate business solutions for their daily lineup of B2B procurement and business related needs. Catering to eight different industry verticals, Omentra allows local businesses to list themselves and their respective products & services on the platform, so they can reach a larger market both locally and globally.
Users can search for and compare products, services or suppliers in a single marketplace and can also choose from a variety of financing available for their purchase requirements.
With that, the presentations came to a close
While the judges retreated to a safe distance upstairs to put on their thinking caps and pick each other’s brains, the rest of the audience including ourselves indulged in a bit of food and drink. It also provided an ample opportunity for the startups and those attending to network with each other to build up friendships that could be beneficial for both.
And the winner of Seedstars Colombo 2017 were:
- 3rd Place – Lotus360
- 2nd Place – Alakazam
- 1st Place – Jendo
The winner of Seedstars Colombo 2017, in this case Jendo, would go on stand a chance to represent Sri Lanka in the Regional and Global Summits of Seedstars. It certainly was an action packed evening. For Jendo, this marks the beginning of another exciting journey and we wish them all the best at the regionals and the global summit as well.