Disrupt Asia. It’s a name we first heard back in 2016. Now the buzz is back again, intruding all our social media timelines. If you haven’t seen or heard it yet, you must be living in a cave. Sri Lanka’s premier startup conference and innovation festival? That’s a bold statement.
It’s a Startup Conference?
What’s so great about that? You’re only going to sit for hours listening to people ramble. To complicate matters further, this year’s gathering has lined up over 15 speakers for the conference! If that’s not breaking a sweat, just take a look at the schedule.
It’s a Startup Expo inclusive?
Okay, so you have a startup. But do you really want to exhibit your life and soul’s labor to hundreds or maybe even thousands of strangers? It’s going to be a crowded event, which also means that there could be your next buyer, supplier, investor, partner, potential hire or even your co-founder among them. Can you imagine if just one of them takes notice of you? You will have to spend your time answering dozens of questions you might have not even prepared for. That’s without considering the countless inquiries from unsuspecting attendees and some curious journalists.
Just look at Dhanika Perera. A few years ago he was already successful with Helakuru. But then all of a sudden, he wanted to tackle the online payments problem in Sri Lanka. So he built another company called PayHere. He first showcased PayHere back in 2016, during the first Disrupt Asia. Today, his startup has to cater to the demands of over 1200+ customers. Do you really want to put yourself through something like this?
What’s with a Startup Battle?
“Battle” they’ve coined it. This is where you pitch your startup to a panel of judges, most surely handpicked from the industry with a successful track record. If you manage to win, you take home an all-expenses-paid (including travel and accommodation) delegate invitation to Seedstars Asia Summit 2019 in Cambodia, a free company valuation from PWC Sri Lanka, and a host of other freebies like some popularity and a stream of emails in your inbox. If you’re thinking this is your cup of tea, don’t get your hopes up just yet.
For one thing, the judging panel will include both local and regional experts. So it surely won’t be a walk in the park. Then, there’s a checklist of conditions you have to meet in order to be eligible. It won’t help much, but here’s what you should have:
- A tech-based startup
- A working prototype that can be showcased
- Been in existence for 5 years or less as of 1st September 2019
- A product or a niche service to offer. So if you’re into web and graphic designing, software development, system integrators, hardware shops, you’re out of luck.
If you somehow make through all of this, you just might get to pitch at the grand finale, on the main stage at Disrupt Asia 2019. This too among hundreds of people in attendance in a jam-packed auditorium at Nelum Pokuna. So we ask, are you really that keen enough to apply for this year’s Disrupt Asia Startup Battle?
But wait, it doesn’t end there
If you didn’t get it by now, Disrupt Asia is one of those events that attract individuals from many avenues across multiple industries. It could be investors, industry experts, accelerators scouting for startups, or even eager undergraduates looking to be a part of the startup ecosystem. There are too many things happening with too many people around at Disrupt Asia.
Look at Heshan Fernando, Co-founder of oDoc. He met Ray Newal, Managing Director of Techstars India at Disrupt Asia 2018. This interaction lead oDoc getting into the Techstars Bangalore Accelerator. Now, the poor souls have expanded their operations into India as well, spreading their area of focus beyond the island nation. So, we ask you again, is this how you want to spend your Saturday evening? You deserve to be sipping a hot coffee and surfing the internet. Right?
“Starting a startup is nuts. You either have to be dumb enough to not think about all these disadvantages or crazy enough to not care” – Indi Samarajiva, Founder YAMU
We know, Indi told this to validate some other conversation, at another event. But if you’ve made it this far, we get it, we cannot stop you now. You might even believe that you’re not the regular one, that you’re born to do things differently. Well, if you’ve already made up your mind, then why wait? Click here and grab your early bird tickets. But don’t say we didn’t warn you. The excitement can be contagious.