It’s one of the leading technology and startup events in Europe. It happens in Helskini, Finland over the course of 2 days. It is a place that connects startups and tech talent with investors, executives, and the media. In 2016 it saw 17,500 attendees from 130 countries, including 2,300 startups and 1,100 investors. And its speakers include some of the most famous names in the global tech industry. This is Slush 2017.
Slush is a non-profit event organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students and music festival organizers. Last year we saw NicNac represent Sri Lanka at Slush 2016. This year, three startups from Sri Lanka will be attending Slush 2017 as members of the Slush Global Impact Accelerator.
In case you’re lost, the Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) is a program created in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and many partners globally. Its purpose is to bring startups to Helsinki to accelerate their business, attract additional finance, and build long-lasting networks. It offers online pre-mentoring, a boot camp Helsinki, workshops, industry specific matchmaking sessions, and access to Slush itself.
This year, eight startups were shortlisted to represent Sri Lanka at Slush 2017. These startups met at the Sysco Labs Auditorium on the 8th of September. There they pitched their startups to a panel of judges. This was the Slush GIA 2017 Selection round in Sri Lanka, which was organized by both SLASSCOM and PricewaterhouseCoopers. And so, these are the eight startups from Sri Lanka that sought a chance to attend Slush 2017.
The first startup we saw pitching for a chance to attend Slush GIA 2017 was a startup we saw selected to represent Sri Lanka at the Oslo Innovation Week 2017. As we previously mentioned, ShoutOUT is a messaging platform that allows you to send personalized messages in bulk to your customers. To do so, it collects data from the business and then sends targeted messages to different customer segments. These messages can be via SMS, emails, or social media. Currently, they have 983 trial users in 71 cities, who have run 3110 campaigns, and 76 of its paying customers are in Sri Lanka.
The second startup was one that we first met at Disrupt Asia 2017. oDoc is an app that lets you get appointments with a doctor via video conferencing. At the end of these digital appointments, you can also obtain a digital note from the doctor with a certified seal and their SLMC number. The initial consultation is free but afterward, you will be charged Rs. 1599 for each consultation.
Since we last saw them, the startup has closed their seed round. This seed round was led by Ajit Gunawardene – Deputy Chairman of John Keells, Brandix, and LOLC. The oDoc team also shared that they formed many partnerships. One partnership with an insurance company, which was said to be worth millions. The startup has also formed partnerships with telecommunications providers and pharmaceutical delivery providers.
Colombo Centre for Cognitive Computing
The company, which was initially known as Volume Sri Lanka transformed into the Colombo Centre for Cognitive Computing (CogCom). The company helps businesses worldwide to automate mundane tasks and improve the customer experience with Artificial Intelligence. As proof of their skills, the company has created a conversational AI platform, which you can find on their website. This is a platform that utilizes technologies like IBM Watson to understand questions and then find and give the right answers. The company is aiming to expand into the Asian markets and are forming partnerships to so.
This is a startup that wants to stop cardiovascular diseases from taking lives. Jendo has created a device that helps identify the initial stages of cardiovascular diseases. Having built the device, they’ve completed their initial trials with the product, which has now been patented. Having won the John Keells X Innovation Challenge, they are now conducting clinical trials with Asiri Hospitals.
The fifth startup we saw was another startup that was selected to represent Sri Lanka at the Oslo Innovation Week 2017. Right Posture was a startup, which was born through an internship and then became the first Sri Lankan startup to be accepted into AIRMaker. This startup offers a smart chair with sensors that monitor your posture. If it detects you’re sitting with an unhealthy posture, then you’ll get a notification that’ll show you how to sit with a healthy posture.
Igniter Space is a startup that we’ve known for quite a while. Initially called KidsIgnite, this is a startup dedicated to creating maker spaces where kids can come and innovate. The startup has created three maker spaces with 30 volunteers conducting classes for over 800 students. Additionally, it has a service called Igniter Bee, which sends monthly care packages to help children build products.
Since we last saw them, Igniter Space has expanded their offerings. They now help schools and organizations setup maker spaces and have also started a franchise program. The American Center is one such organization where Igniter Space has created a maker space. It’s also created a franchise program. This franchise program will soon see Igniter Space expand into the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
AdLoggs is a startup aims to be the Uber for deliveries. It offers a platform that connects businesses with delivery partners. These delivery partners can then take orders from the businesses to deliver it to the end customer. Additionally, the platform also allows anyone interested to start their own delivery networks. The team shared that they’ve been active in India and shared that KFC, Pizza hut, and Taco Bell are apparently customers of their platform. Locally, they shared that Quickee and Yamu are potential clients that may use their platform. Additionally, the startup has other offerings such as Facebook bots and POS systems.
Droughts are among the deadliest natural disasters on the planet and we in Sri Lanka too have experienced its deadly effects first hand. SenzAgro aims to minimize the damage of droughts by using technology to help make farming more efficient. This is through their water management system and smart control system.
This system analyzes a variety of factors such as the pH level of the soil and moisture level and then help farmers take optimal decisions. Currently, the startup has three trails running in farms located in Jaffna and Kilinochchi. This device would cost $300 to install per acre and then a monthly subscription fee, which varies depending on the size of the farming land.
The startup going to Slush 2017
Ultimately, out of these eight startups, only three were selected by the panel for a chance to attend Slush 2017 and join the Slush Global Impact Accelerator. So which startups were selected? The three startups shortlisted to represent Sri Lanka at Slush 2017 are Igniter Space, oDoc, and SenzAgro. We wish these startups the best of luck and hope they find great success at Slush 2017.
Update 1: We’ve been informed that only one startup will be selected from Sri Lanka to join the Slush 2017 Global Impact Accelerator. As such, the article has been updated.