It’s a global phenomenon. It has gone across Sri Lanka introducing entrepreneurship to different communities. This is Techstars Startup Weekend. By now you’re probably familiar with this 54-hour event, where participants aim to build a startup over the weekend. The latest edition of this global event in Sri Lanka took place at Batticaloa. These are the startup ideas we saw in the land of the singing fish, at Techstars Startup Weekend Batticaloa.
The first startup idea we saw was a social enterprise. This startup aims to ensure all human beings have access to basic human resources needed to survive. To do so, they identify such communities and connect them with aid organizations. This would be done through their app. The judges liked the concept but encouraged the team to identify whether other similar apps existed on the market.
The next startup idea we saw was for an event management system. According to the team’s pitch, this was a system aimed primarily at personal events such as marriages and birthday parties. To help organize your event, the app aims to be the one-stop shop where you can obtain every item required. In exchange, the team would take a 20% cut from the total cost of the event.
If your car breaks down, this app would help you find the nearest garage. For this service, the team would take a small commission from the repairs carried out on your car. Following the presentation, the judges had a few questions regarding the business model of the team. In particular, how they’d ensure people would pay as they took payments through bank deposits.
The fourth team we saw at Startup Weekend Batticaloa offered an ad blocker. This would be in the form of an Android app. Additionally; it would also let you know how much data you’re using. However, this is only aimed at blocking ads they define as harmful. This means the app would block ads related to porn but not ads for cheesy garlic bread. When it came time for Q&A, the judges had quite a few questions about how exactly the team would go about blocking the online ads.
This is an e-book app that is aimed at helping students find the books they need. The team aimed to make money by charging students for each book they download. But this requires authors to upload their books to the platform. In exchange, the authors would obtain a commission per download. The team shared during the Q&A session that they’d first work with authors before getting users.
This is an app that allows motorbike riders to easily rent a motorbike. Based on the screenshots the team shared, we couldn’t help but think they’d modeled themselves after Uber. During the Q&A session, the team also elaborated that they’d be utilizing GPS trackers and other measures to ensure security.
Finding Blood Donors
The seventh startup idea we saw at Startup Weekend Batticaloa, wanted to save lives. To do so, wanted to connect blood donors with blood banks. To make money the team would utilize ads and through their partnerships with the blood banks. While they had a noble aim, the team wasn’t clear how their partnerships would make the business idea a sustainable one.
On Way Fix
Similar to GPS Garage, this startup too would fix your vehicle if it breaks down. The app would do so by offering a guide to help you fix the vehicle by yourself. In the event you can’t fix it by yourself, the app would connect you with the nearest mechanic. But to be listed, On Way Fix would charge Rs. 2000 from the mechanics.
Clean Environmental Products
This is an e-commerce startup that aims to exclusively offer products built through recycling. Furthermore, it would also offer raw materials utilized by sellers building products via recycling. During the Q&A session, the judges wondered how exactly they’d create a supply chain and how big the community of businesses building recycled products was.
Dr. Calorie is an app we found at Startup Weekend Batticaloa. Its goal is to simply make sure that you’re healthy. To that end, it would recommend exercise routines and dieting plans for you. Furthermore, if needed the app would also connect you with a doctor. A handy app but we couldn’t gather from their pitch how the app would make money.
This team at Startup Weekend Batticaloa decided to tackle one of the biggest problems in the world: depression. To that end, this team built an app that offers online counseling for those suffering from depression. This counseling would be done through certified counselors. In exchange, the platform would charge patients for the number of hours they spend with the counselors.
As you might have guessed from the name, this is the second e-commerce startup we found at Startup Weekend Batticaloa. Virtual Shop aims to be a mobile app where shops can reach their customers and be known as the hub with the best deals. And how to do they make money? Through advertisements and subscriptions to sellers.
The final startup idea we at Startup Weekend Batticaloa was one that aimed to promote carpooling. Through their app, you can share your route and earn money from others on the same route. As a rider, the app allows you to negotiate a rate with your driver. Meanwhile, the drivers would be charged $1 per month by Get in.
The winners of Startup Weekend Batticaloa
Once the dust had settled, the judges retreated to debate amongst themselves. Who would be the winners of? We would only find out once Ankur Mehta – the facilitator of Techstars Startup Weekend Batticaloa had finished teasing us. Ultimately, the winners were as follows.
Clean Environment in 3rd place, The Rider in 2nd place, and Just Breathe taking 1st place. With the winners announced, Techstars Startup Weekend Batticaloa came to an end with a traditional group photo. But stay tuned for bigger events on the Techstars calendar for Sri Lanka.