Last month we wrote about a young Sri Lankan innovator that made a significant achievement in the US. Today, that young innovator has made us proud once more. Yes, we are referring to Ganindu Nanayakkara, the man behind the now famous iHelmet. Last month, we saw Ganindu being a finalist for Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award program. Today, Ganindu and iHelmet are winners as the 1st runners up in the Transportation category, with a grand prize of $500,000 in their hands.

Organized by Verizon in the US, The Powerful Answers Award is a multi-million dollar challenge for entrepreneurs, companies and innovators worldwide to provide innovative solutions in transportation, emergency response and Internet of Things. Winning this award is no easy task. Head over to the FAQ section on Verizon’s website and you’ll see that unlike any programs we have here, The Powerful Answers Award is a year-long program that started in March and only ended just recently.

Photo credits: Verizon
Ganindu Nanayakkara (Photo credits: Verizon)

Two years ago, iHelmet was one of the most interesting exhibits we saw at Infotel 2013 designed for military use. Today, iHelmet takes data from a combination of sensors to warn all motorcycle riders of incoming threats. The iHelmet we know today also offers features such as blind-spot assists, high-speed alerts, directions to parking spots, smart tail lights, and even an air quality sensor. To say Ganindu has come a long way would be an understatement.

The winner of the transportation category was Pogo, a Seattle-based startup that helps users streamline existing carpools and discover new carpool connections across trusted groups and guarantees paid rides as a backup. The second runners-up were i4drive from Israel and Swiftmile from San Mateo, California.

So what’s next on the agenda? All winners are now eligible to take part in the Powerful Answers Accelerator program at BootUp Academy. The goal of this program is to accelerate the growth of the winning companies through workshops and knowledge exchange sessions. The topics covered by this program are business planning, product development, UX/UI design, global go-to-market strategies, communications, financing, and growth hacking. We look forward to seeing iHelmet grow and take over the world with this new found funding and the lessons from BootUp Academy.

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