On the first day of Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017 the teams met and pitched their ideas. On the second day, they began working to make their ideas a reality. We also saw a speech on the second day by Michael Moonesinghe – Founder of Business Hubs. He encouraged the participants and shared with them why now is the best time to be an entrepreneur.
On the third day, it was time for their big moment. It was a hot Sunday and the final day of Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017. This was the day when the teams had finished polishing their ideas, prototypes, and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. These are the ideas we found at Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017.
This first team we saw at Startup Weekend Jaffna was one with a very ambitious idea. The team shared that we charge our phones with a variety of methods such as chargers and power banks. But King Energy wants to take your finger movement, magnetic fields, radio frequencies and sounds to charge your phone. The team shared a concept of their idea, which consists of a ring and a casing that’s expected to cost Rs. 300 per unit.
Abacus squared is an app that aims to help students learning how to use the abacus. The app helps students learn by giving them a variety of problems to solve. Currently, the app is aimed at students between the ages of 15 – 18 who are studying at abacus training institutes. In the future, they aim to implement artificial intelligence to help analyze and improve the performance of students.
Stop Child Abuse
Child abuse is a global problem. In Sri Lanka alone there were 3785 cases in 2017 thus far and most were in the North & West. To help tackle this problem, this team has built an app to report child abuse cases. The aptly named, Stop Child Abuse app is one where you report cases of child abuse. These reports are then anonymized and sent to the authorities for them to take action. As such, this is a pure NGO startup that doesn’t aim to make money.
Work Opportunity, as its name suggests, is an app that helps you find a job. In exchange, the startup would charge you a $5 subscription and be paid the equivalent of your first salary when you find a job. Currently, the team is aiming at capturing the market in Jaffna before expanding islandwide. During the Q&A session, the judges asked the team how people in Jaffna currently find jobs. The team replied saying, “the newspaper,” to which the judges said, “You didn’t list it as a competitor.”
Pill Reminder is an app that reminds you to take your medicines. The app will give you reminders when you have to take your medicine. It also works with a special device that dispenses your medicine with the right dosage at the time. They’re also planning on working with pharmacies to ensure your medicine is restocked. Initially, the device is aimed at diabetes patients.
This is an alarm that’ll wake you up before you get to your destination when traveling in a bus. But this startup isn’t only aimed at buses, it’s also aimed at school vans. The app works by traveling your location in real-time and then sets off an alarm when you get to your destination. The app also gives you time schedules of buses and alerts for bus drivers that there are people waiting for him.
Vego is an app that aims to connect business and farmers. The app allows businesses to directly order vegetables from farmers and pays for them via credit cards. Currently, the team is aiming this at businesses in Jaffna such as hotels, wedding halls, supermarkets, and restaurants. Additionally, from what we gathered during the pitch, the team only plans to offer vegetables through the app as they didn’t mention anything about meat.
Fast Deliver is an app that helps deliver FMCG products to you. You can select products from the app and then an alert is given to both the seller and rider. The rider who is a registered freelancer would then travel to the seller’s shop. Once the rider has picked up the products, it would be delivered to your doorstep. While the judges like the idea, they had a few doubts about how well-accepted card payments were in Jaffna, which was the target market of the team.
The final idea we saw at Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017 was an electronic wallet. E-Change is an electronic wallet which merchants can use to add the change they own you. How does it work? You ask for the seller’s ID and make a request. When the seller accepts your request, the amount would be added to your e-wallet. In exchange, E-Change would take a 10% commission on the transaction.
The winners of Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017
Three days of hard work later, this was the big moment. After the judges shared their feedback, they announced the results. Furthermore, unlike with the previous Startup Weekends we’ve seen with Sri Lanka, this time the stakes were a lot higher.
The winning team of Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017, would be eligible to participate in the regional and then global competitions by Techstars. And without further ado, the winners of Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017 were:
1st place: Sleep Well
2nd place: Pill reminder
3rd place: Fast Delivery
Additionally, Vego won an award for being the idea that has the potential to create the biggest social impact. And the judges also gave a special mention to Energy King as the most audaciously ambitious idea.
With the results announced, Startup Weekend Jaffna 2017 officially came to an end. Unofficially, the celebrations began with the participants breathing sighs of relief, filling the room with laughter, and snapping selfies when only 54 hours earlier they wouldn’t have uttered a whisper.