From left: MSH Packaging Industries (Pvt.) Ltd Chief Executive Officer Savera Weerasinghe, SAIG and Orion Director/CEO Jeevan Gnanam, Katha Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mahen Ratnayake, Katha Co-Founder Mudith Uswatta, Nicnac Founder Sachira Fernando, Creative eLearning Co-Founder and Chief Architect and winner Sheran Corera, Codegen CEO Harsha Subasinghe, Calcey Technologies Founder and CEO Mangala Karunaratne, MAS Holdings Chief Information Officer Jehan Mutaliph, Seedstars World Asia Associate Nick Feneck, Seedstars World Asia Regional Manager Katarina Szulenyiova and SLASSCOM Project Executive Anas Akram
Seedstars World, the global seed-stage start-up competition for emerging markets and fast-growing start-up eco-systems, brought its Sri Lankan round to a successful close during Seedstars Colombo. The event took place recently at Trace City Expert and eight selected start-ups were invited to present their ideas in front of the local jury panel.
The local winner, LayUp, a learning-driven social platform to discover a new way to train, engage and reward employees, was selected as the best start-up in Sri Lanka for its user-friendly solution.
“I realized during my corporate tenure there was no effective, engaging product on the market that addresses the problem of online training,” explained LayUp Founder Sheran Corera. As part of the prize, LayUp will be participating in Seedstars Summit, taking place in Switzerland in March 2017, a weeklong training programme with the opportunity to meet the other 60 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world. Traditionally, the final day of the summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of an audience of 1000 attendees, with the possibility of winning up to US $ 1 million in equity investment.
NicNac with its personal digital butler service came second and Katha, a social, audio content creation platform, grabbed the third position. The other startups invited to pitch were PayMedia, Foodie Global, Touristeun, Hype Hash and PreviewVR.
Seedstars Colombo was humbled to host Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and a number of high-profile speakers. SLASSCOM Chairman Mano Sekaram welcomed the Prime Minister and explained the Seedstars Colombo initiative before SLASSCOM Vice Chairman Ruwindhu Peiris presented a compelling and thorough report about the Sri Lankan start-up ecosystem. It can be accessed via http://www.slasscom.lk/content/startup-sri-lanka-report. MAS Innovation Human Resources Head Zahara Ashraff also presented a talk on the need for an innovation based start-up ecosystem in Sri Lanka and how MAS innovation has.
The local Ambassador of Seedstars World, Mangala Karunaratne of Startup Sri Lanka, which is a SLASSCOM initiative, provided the closing remarks for the event inspiring the audience by talking about the need for more national focus on supporting technology products made in Sri Lanka. MAS Holdings was the main sponsor for the event and further support was provided by ICTA as National Partner and media partners ReadMe and Daily FT as well as the event partner Regus. The event attracted interest from over 140 startups and 250 attendees.
Continuing on its world tour of start-up competitions in emerging markets and fast-growing start-up ecosystems, Seedstars World’s next stop is Hong Kong at the newly opened entrepreneurship space in LKF, Metta to select the best startup in the city. Seedstars World is looking for smart start-ups that solve regional issues and/or develop profitable products for the global market.