Demo Day: The Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp

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Following Day 01 of the Startup Boot Camp by Venture Frontier Lanka, Day 02 of the Startup Boot Camp started off bright and early with an Icebreaker/Leadership activity carried out once again, by Jim Bagnola.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Jim Bagnola addressing the participants

He started off by explaining that there are 8 traits that people tend to have that can potentially ruin a relationship. These include:

  • Obsession with winning
  • The “I already knew that” phrase
  • Passing judgment
  • Disagreeing with ideas that are not their own
  • Making destructive comments behind people’s backs
  • Telling the world how smart they are
  • Speaking with anger
  • Always being negative

He went on to point out that if you don’t get feedback from your customer, good or bad, you will not survive long in the market. The audience took the opportunity to ask Jim a number of questions such as how to be more open with customers and clients and also how to give better feedback to improve products and services.

Boosting your business with Facebook

Rajat Arora, Policy Programs Manager at South Asia Facebook was up next at Day 02 of Startup Boot Camp to talk about what he does and what objectives the social media giant has for Sri Lanka. The objective of their presence is to identify the requirements of the ecosystem. They’re also researching the programs and applications that the company can support, to improve the socioeconomic standing in Sri Lanka.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Rajat Arora addressing the audience

He went on to talk about the challenges faced by the company both in the region and the country. This includes the lack of employment, negative growth and also protectionism, which is basically taxing imports from foreign industries so that they are not competition for the local ones.

Up next: How do you pitch your startup?

Gibs Song was the next speaker at Day 02 of Startup Boot Camp. His topic? Pitching. He spoke about a small company and compared it to a startup. A small company is not a startup, he said. Similarly, a startup is not a small company either. For a startup, you will lose money in the first 6 months but a small company may have profits in the same time period.

If you think about it, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all startups, he further explained. Startups are very important to Sri Lanka and other emerging countries as well. He went on to say that without startups, even the US Economy would be nowhere as it is today.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Gibs Song addressing the participants

He then spoke about startup funding processes such as bootstrapping, friends and family, small business grants, loans of credit, etc. Know your enemy and yourself and you will win every battle, he stated.

He went on to talk about the difference between a Venture Capitalist (VC) and an angel investor. For example, A VC looks for at the goal of a startup whereas an Angel Investor would look at the passion of the team behind the product or service. Further, whilst a VC would invest other people’s money in your startup, an Angel Investor would invest their own money.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Gibs Song continuing his session

He also spoke about choosing the right VC. This involves asking questions such as the average check size, what sector they invest in, their track record, the funding stage, support offered by partners, partners working style, location and conflict of interest if they have invested in similar companies to theirs.

In conclusion, Gibs emphasized that you have to be committed, and have the ability to build a good team. You also must have integrity and honesty. Furthermore, having an idea alone is not enough, he explained, you must also execute it.

Startup Financing

The last speech before lunch at Day 02 of Startup Boot Camp was by Nissanka Weerasekera, Private Equity Consultant on the Startup Financing Cycle.  He spoke about his experience in being a VC, especially in early and late stage funding. There are certain things you must keep in mind that might have an impact at the later stage, he explained.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Nissanka Weerasekera talking to the participants

Nissanka explained that If you make a mistake now, you would regret it later. You must always aim to go global. However, in doing so, you also must realize that people have limitations in their capabilities. So you got to play to your strengths, he concluded.

Balancing your energies and why it’s essential to manage a startup

Following a quick lunch at Day 02 of Startup Boot Camp, Jim was back to talk about how leading people is the management of energy. Thinking creates or dissipates energy. Based on what you think, you energize or de-energize yourself. The higher your energy, the more successful you’ll be.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Jim Bagnola talking about balancing your energy

He then went on to speak about how to increase brain capacity and processing with techniques such as meditation. Using a volunteer and a number of exercises, Jim demonstrated how our energy can increase and decrease depending on what we do. If we’re doing one task, all our energy is on that task, he explained, but if there are two or more tasks, our energy is divided. It’s all about energy distribution and movement.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Jim Bagnola continuing his session

Next, he went on to speak about how it’s not the differences that divide us. It’s the judgments about each other that do. He also talked about the difference between being judgmental and also learning from yourself and those around you. He proceeded to illustrate his point with an exercise where groups of 8-10 people had to stand on a paper with one foot on the paper and one in the air. As rounds went on, they were asked to fold the paper, thus reducing the mass of the area.

The event of the day, pitching.

This was what we were all waiting for at Day 02 of the Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp. After all the mock pitches were done, it was time for the top 6 startups/entrepreneurs to make their presentations to both a panel of reputed judged and also the participants of the Demo Day of Startup Boot Camp as well

Gift Up

First up at Startup Boot Camp Demo Day was Gift Up. This is an online platform to buy and manage gift vouchers. Essentially, you go to a merchant virtually, pick a voucher and have it delivered to your loved ones. Vouchers are sold instantly and delivery is instantly sent out. The app is scheduled to be released in July.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Gift Up preseting their Idea

The judges gave considerate thought to the product but were less than impressed that the team page had no qualifications of the team members, but just their name and team role in it.

Ducha Teas

Ducha Teas is a Ceylon Tea exporter, based out of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The company curates high-quality tea blends and offers them at cheaper prices by cutting out middlemen outlets. In addition, the company is also an authorized Ceylon Tea exporter with a global client base. They export tea grades ranging from Orange Pekoe (OP) which is the highest grade to Dust which is the lowest.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Ducha Teas making their presentation

Ducha Teas plan to sell 6 different types of tea in the US. They want to do so by requesting USD 50,000 -+to launch in the US in return for 60% of the US company.

Landlord+

An affordable, 360-degree property management platform, which is millennial-friendly. They will be looking at signing up homeowners to help maintain houses and keep them in order. Long term, the platform will also be used to collect rent and also reach out to more tenants when the current ones move out.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Landlord puls making their presentation

Park and Pay

Park and Pay is a platform that combines parking and paying and wrapping it up in one convenient little app. The mobile app allows you to find parking slots, and pay for them. In addition, it’s also used to manage parking slots. It can be implemented in private car parks, rent slots, and public parking slots.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Park and Pay making their presentation

A driver can search for available parking, and a ticketing agent can see what vehicles are parked in a particular zone and update accordingly. You can add multiple vehicles and even reserve parking.

Owita Organics

Owita Organics wants all of Sri Lanka to eat healthily. They aim to do this by providing fresh, healthy, locally grown produce. In addition to growing crops with no added preservatives and medicines, Owita Organics would also provide home delivery of fruits and vegetables. These can be ordered online via the company’s website.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Owita Organics making their presentation

Zkewed

Zkewed takes into account NLP, AI, and ML. It makes use of PowerBI, which is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft. So using this tool, they would be able to encapsulate the product around PowerBI and sell it. By contacting the company, organizations would be able to connect their data sources and their systems with a lineup of prebuilt dashboards.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Zkewed making their presentation

What Venture Frontier Lanka aims for

Once the final pitches were done on the Demo Day at Startup Boot Camp, the last session was by Ovidiu Bujorean and Heminda Jayaweera They both spoke about the goals Venture Frontier Lanka had in regarding Sri Lanka. We need women coders, he stated. We also need to get more Sri Lankans involved in the tech industry. They plan to talk with Sri Lankan diaspora regarding this topic.

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
Ovidiu Bujorean and Heminda Jayaweera explaining the future of Venture Frontier Lanka

He then gave a brief description on the national challenge in August, to which the winners of Day 02 would be proceeding. Before that, he explained, they would get the opportunity to have 3 months of mentorship with John Cayzer. He concluded with the motto of Venture Frontier Lanka, “Build local, reach global”.

Time to announce the winners of Startup Boot Camp

Finally, after a day well spent, the winners of Startup Boot Camp Colombo were ready to be announced. And they were:

  • 3rd place– Park and Pay
  • 2nd place– Owita Organics
  • 1st place– Landlord Plus
Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp
The Winners of Startup Boot Camp by Venture Frontier Lanka

And with that, Day 02 of the startup boot camp organized by Venture Frontier Lanka drew to a close. However, this isn’t the only event on Venture Frontier Lanka’s calendar. They’ll also be hosting a live broadcast on ideation in entrepreneurship. This will be taking place at Trace Expert City on the 8th of May from 6 PM to 7.30 PM. If you wish to register for the event you can reach out to Indeewari on +94775728962.

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