Most of you probably have already have attended SPIKE or at least heard of it by now. But for those who doesn’t know about it, SPIKE is a regular meetup bringing together startup founders, entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and those who are just curious to find out what this whole thing is about. It’s been happening since 2014 which is still going on.
It was a Tuesday evening (6.30 pm to be exact) at Barefoot Gallery Café. A weather app said it’s going to rain and there were drips here and there but it didn’t rain – thankfully. Kicking things to a start, Sam De Silva, the host for the meetup invited the founder of Vista Rooms, Amit Damani to share why he thinks that Sri Lanka is a better place for a startup than India.
Amit shared his view on how Sri Lanka differentiates from other startup ecosystems all thanks to its geographical location and having the market in a place where if it works out here, then it can work out in other markets as well. He went on to explain the reason as to why Vista Rooms came down to Sri Lanka.
Vista Rooms has been able to test new ideas at a much lower cost and at a much faster pace compared to India. In order to gain a customer in India, businesses will have to spend as much as 3 times the price compared to what they have to spend here in Sri Lanka. According to Amit, the amount of social media engagement seen in Sri Lanka is incredible too. If a problem in Sri Lanka can be fixed through a startup it can definitely be taken to a different market given that it is not already available in that market.
The communication between startups here is also incredible and whenever Amit has reached out to other startups here in Sri Lanka they’ve been incredibly receptive and supportive too. This reflects a much more powerful startup community than the saturated startup community he has seen over at India. Amit concluded saying that “Sri Lanka is a really exciting market to really test out your ideas and try to solve Sri Lankan problems because more often than not those problems have existed in other developing markets as well”.
It was then time for co-founder & CEO of Trekurious, Rukmankan Sivaloganathan to share his experience gained when relocating his Sri Lankan startup to India. Him and the other co-founder, Dilendra wanted to build a platform where tourists are able to plan out and engage in activities with experts in certain fields of the service industry in Sri Lanka. Both of them started off by raising money through Venture Engine to begin operations. Trekurious was initially meant to be in India and Sri Lanka was just a test market so their next step was moving to India.
After assembling a team of individuals to make sure operations in Sri Lanka run smoothly, they went to Bombay in India to start operations there. They started off with a home-dining experience and a home delivery service. After having a few problems with the funding they had to come back to Sri Lanka to scale down operations. Rukmankan provided insight on choosing investors and raising funds for your startup. He mentioned that it should be done in a careful manner and be careful not to take decisions in a desperate manner.
The entire meetup helped attendees to gain knowledge on what it’s like to operate in different startup ecosystems such as India and Sri Lanka. An equally important part of SPIKE was the networking session at the end where all the attendees receive the chance to interact with each other in order to share their experiences and information.
The meetup had a great deal of people showing up in order to learn, communicate and share. If you’re interested in attending the next meetup, check out the SPIKE Facebook group. If you’re an entrepreneur, founder, investor or purely a startup enthusiast you will definitely find SPIKE interesting and you will definitely be able to meet people who are just as excited to be part of the tech startup ecosystem in Sri Lanka.