Organized by the combined efforts of our very own team at ReadMe, together with Manoj Ranaweera, StartupX Foundry and CrowdIsland, we explored the startup vibes & the Sri Lankan tech ecosystem.
Hosted at StartupX Foundry on the 10th of January 2018, and initiated by Manoj Ranaweera, a tech entrepreneur and the former CEO and Founder at edocr, the event took the form of a meetup. This was an open invitation to the Sri Lankan tech entrepreneur community to see the progress made by the ecosystem since its inception half a decade ago.
Having entered the tech startup world 14 years ago, Manoj went on to talk about the how he started 11 ventures throughout the 14 year period, with a quite a number of failures.
He also spoke about the importance of continuous learnings and taking those learning into the next venture. In conclusion, Manoj spoke about the emerging trends in startups and encouraged entrepreneurs to never give up.
Mazin Hussain, our very own editor at ReadMe was up next. Mazin started off by giving a brief introduction to ReadMe. Interestingly, this meetup coincided with the 6th birthday of ReadMe. From what began as a simple startup, ReadMe transformed into something bigger: Nexia Capital Media.
Mazin then went on to speak about the Sri Lankan IT industry. These, he said can be categorized into three sectors: ICT companies, BPO companies and Academia. As of 2016, the Sri Lankan ICT/BPO sector was valued at $900 Million. This is almost double that of 2011, when it was $440 Million.
In terms of export contribution, the ICT/BPO sector contributed to 6.87% of total exports. In 2016, the Apparel industry contributed a total of 41.28% valued at $4.3 billion. The IT industry has 61,494 people employed, according to data taken from the Department of Labor. This is without taking into account freelancers and startups.
Mazin then gave examples of some successful companies such as ExtremeSEO, 99X Technologies, and even CodeGen. He went on to say that the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem is indeed active and growing. However, it is also quite young and in its early stages.
In wrapping up, Mazin emphasized that we need to try and go beyond Colombo and introduce technology on a grand scale to communities across Sri Lanka. Initiatives such as Yarl IT Hub and Startup Weekend are trying to do just that and it’s working. In closing, Mazin left us with an interesting question: how do we make technology more accessible to people?
Following Mazin, we had Aloka Gunasekara. Aloka, the Program Manager at StartupX Foundry carried forth Mazin’s views on startups. He spoke about how startups are the “cool” things to be a part of in the current day and age.
Aloka then spoke about the initiatives in place to help startups grow and exit quickly. His examples were Spiralation and GSEA as examples. In case you didn’t know, Spiralation is a program by ICTA launched in 2010 that focuses on supporting new technology ventures.
Aimed at budding entrepreneurs who had a vision of launching their technology startup, a typical Spiralation program includes seed funding, training sessions, networking sessions, business promotion opportunities (both locally and internationally), etc. Aloka’s example of a Spiralation product was Arimac.
Aloka then spoke about the various startup incubators and accelerators that are currently available in Sri Lanka. His examples were the Lankan Angel Network, Hemas Slingshot, the John Keells X Innovation Challenge, and the latest which was StartupX Foundry.
Meetups such as Refresh Colombo, which Aloka was a founding member of, and Spike were platforms for people to come together and discuss what they’re working on. They all have one goal in common: helping a startup from a grassroots level, grow exponentially, and then be acquired by one of the larger conglomerates and safely exit the market.
The last speaker for the day at Startup Vibes was Chalinda Abeykoon. Chalinda, the CEO of crowdisland.lk spoke about what his company, Crowdisland does. In case you didn’t know, Crowdisland isn’t your average equity crowdfunding platform. They’re a financial services company dedicated to helping startups.
Chalinda spoke about how his career started off. He shared his experience running two startup accelerators: Spiralation by ICTA and Disrupt Unlimited by Brandix. Afterwards, he explained what crowdisland does to help startups become investor ready. This support is open to any startup that has already validated its idea and is looking to scale.
He concluded by emphasizing that Crowdisland doesn’t run any competitions. Rather, they’re open to any startup and keep an open door at all times. If any startup wants their help they can get in touch through their website.
Following Chalinda’s speech, Mazin was back again on stage to make a few announcements. The first one was to say that the pizza had arrived (which received tumultuous feedback). The second was to introduce a number of new and upcoming startups in the current industry.
Founded by Dulitha Wijewantha, Alakazam is a digital marketing assistant that provides insights and recommendations for small businesses on their marketing activities. We initially saw them at Seedstars Colombo 2017 and also at Infotel 2017.
Carried out via Facebook Messenger, Alakazam carries out an in-depth analysis of your business and generates reports based on gathered data. Dulitha went on to explain how Alakazam can help businesses carry out impactful marketing campaigns.
Founded by Harin de Silva, VeroxLabs is a medical device development company that designs, patents, manufactures and markets laboratory equipment for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Additionally, they also offer other services such as creating inline filters to separate volatile organic compounds, which they recently did for a US company.
Verox Labs was initially based in the UK but recently moved to Sri Lanka. However, it has a global footprint because it manufactures medical equipment and then licenses the designs out to larger manufacturers of medical equipment. They have a global support network and aim to disrupt the market with technology and a strong value proposition.
The brainchild of CD Athuraliya along with two of his peers, ConscientAI deals with harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning for usage by ye average consumer.
We saw them at the OSLO Innovation week and then again at Disrupt Asia 2017 as well. Their specialty is utilizing visual content with machine learning.
We first saw Keerti Kodithuwakku’s product at Seedstars Summit where they showcased Jendo, a preventive healthcare solution to combat cardiovascular disease.
The new product, Optha aims to help users protect their eyes and safeguard their vision by identifying potential problems and notifying the user about it.
Following the last pitch, Manoj Ranaweera was back on stage to thank people for their time and also to speak about his latest venture, Techcelerate Ventures, which plans to help Sri Lankan companies through UK Sri Lanka Tech Partnership. In conclusion, Mazin took the stage deliver the vote of thanks and invited those attending for more pizza and drinks.
With that, the Startup Vibes meetup came to an end.
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Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start.
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start. A caravan stop consists of different sessions about creating unique ideas for startup ventures and strategies for financing those ideas.
Come join the sessions on the 19th of December, starting with 2 pm at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
The event is free of charge! REGISTRATION is mandatory for this event
(Wednesday) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
SLIIT, New Kandy Road, Malabe
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount Likuid Members: 20% discount Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount
Likuid Members: 20% discount
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount
Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity to help each other having a more productive digital nomad new year and build better cooperations for teamwork.
During this peer to peer learning session you can share your experiences to help others and learn from other practitioners. Together, dive into the most painful problems and brainstorm on solutions. It’s for you if you resonate with some of these questions:
How do I integrate work, life and travel?
How do I keep motivated to achieve?
How do I keep engaged with a client?
How do I manage my time and energy?
How do I get clients?
How do I find people to collaborate with?
How to deal with time differences?
How can I make human interactions with slack profiles?
How to set realistic goals in constantly changing environment?
What are the best tools & methods for productivity?
What’s the secret of aligned teams?
What are the best skills for a digital nomad?
ABOUT THE METHOD:
“We create space for meaningful conversations, experimental and peer to peer learning. Nothing frontal, no preaching. But space for your very unique questions.”
+ Full-day mentored learning program
+ Breakfast on the roof
+ BBQ lunch on the roof
+ Goodie bags & Take-home handbooks
+ Post-event networking
ABOUT THE HOST:
Kitti is a digital nomad herself and a marketing consultant for innovative companies and early stage startups. She is a conversation ambassador for tedxdanubia, hosted meaningful conversations on ideas worth spreading. In the past years she worked in self organized teams, practiced facilitation, joined peer to peer networks, decentralized teams and cocreated a collective of freelancers. She is a cofounder of a sustainability startup that just secured its first round of investment. Worked as a mentor for many startups, and in the meantime she visited more than 15 countries.
Are you a Sri Lankan female entrepreneur or a local social business? Reach out for your discounted tickets!
PRICE IN SRI LANKAN RUPEES:
Regular: LKR 5000
Early Bird till 16th of Dec: LKR 4000
Likuid Members: LKR 4000
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): LKR 2500
(Saturday) 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
5 Charles Place 00300 Colombo, Sri Lanka
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup. He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup.
He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain technologies.
1. Work with Hyperledger Fabric and Explorer.
2. Business use case with Hyperledger Blockchain Framework
3. Q&A session
This is a Free session. Register here
(Friday) 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Startup X Foundry
07, Charles Place, Colombo 03, Colombo
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