On this week’s edition of ‘The Founder’ we feature Adhikaramge Eranda, Founder and Managing Director of PropEx (PVT) LTD. Eranda was the Former CEO of ‘H’ Magazine, Co-Founder of WemEx (PVT) LTD, Founder of The Concept Corridor, Co-Founder of Koda’s Kitchen and the Former Operations Manager at Double Click Exchange (PVT) LTD, Seychelles. He has over ten years of international experience in the fields of Sales, Marketing and Business Administration and is an alumnus of St Joseph's College, Colombo. Eranda holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the National Institute of Business Management, Sri Lanka.
(1)What is PropEx (PVT) LTD? PropEx is a website, that connects buyers and sellers of land and property. Online: www.propex.lk PropEx also provides a digital platform for professionals in the construction industry to discuss and give their feedback on selected properties, thereby allowing an individual who would like to purchase a land or a house to obtain free consultation prior to their purchase.
(2)What inspired you? The issues I faced when I was building my own house. I had to overcome many obstacles and challenges when purchasing land to build my house. I wanted to provide other buyers with a simple solution. Hence, I was motivated to launch a digital platform that makes buying land or property in Sri Lanka quick and easy for any individual.
(3)What were the hardships you faced as an Entrepreneur and what was the toughest one yet? When you’re a creative person and a new entrant in the industry, most people try to get things done for free and they try to steal your ideas. They also tend to criticize you quite a bit, without trying your product or service. Moment they know it’s a new company, they speak to you with a negative mindset and they assume you’re going to mess up their requirements. They also try to negotiate you down on price, the moment they know you’re a start-up.
(4)Being an Entrepreneur, what was it like facing the global pandemic? How did it affect the business? The pandemic has helped my business. Lockdown in 2020, encouraged more people to explore digital and social media platforms. This helped us market our business to our target audience. We had more traffic on our website and Social Media platforms. People were making important decisions online!
(5)What has been the most frustrating thing about being a start up? Generating awareness for the services we offer. Being a start-up, we don’t have massive Advertising and Marketing budgets, hence it takes us longer to convey our story to our potential clients.
(6)What motivates you to do what you do on daily basis? The desire to become the number one digital platform for property online. I want our website to become the go-to-place when anyone wants to buy, sell, rent or lease land or property in Sri Lanka. My team also keeps me motivated and focused on our end goal; Jayanath Perera, Director Operations, Tharunya Fernando, Director Finance, Paramuth, Manager Sales and Roshan Rajapakshe, Manager Operations, continue to keep me motivated 24/7.
(7)How did you get the initial start-up capital? I’ve been dabbling with different businesses since I was a teenager. I never had millions in my bank account but I did have millions of new ideas! For PropEx the initial capital I invested were from my personal savings.
(8)What separates PropEx from its competitors? I would say our Customer Service and the relationship we maintain with our Clients, be it our Buyers, Sellers or Industry Professionals who offer Consultancy Services via our platforms.
(9)How did you discover your passion for your business? My primary and secondary education was at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, and I firmly believe my passion and ambition to become an Entrepreneur was inculcated during my school years. I was quite the eager beaver as a kid, and I always wanted to see and do things differently. I never wanted to work according to a plan or be confined by rules and regulations. I always tried to find easy and more creative ways to do things. Of course, there were several times I failed, but I also kept succeeding. My creative and curious mind is what kept me motivated.
(10)Who are your role models? My three brothers. We hail from a very humble close-knit family. My brothers have all chased their dreams and achieved success in their respective fields. My eldest brother is a successful Entrepreneur, my second brother is an Engineer and my third brother serves in the Sri Lankan Army as a Major. Each of them achieved their dreams with their own hard work. I also admire a gentleman called, Srimal Wickramasinghe. He is my brother’s best friend and he always guided me and advised me throughout my journey as a young Entrepreneur. He always told me to, ‘Dream Big But Live Small!’
(11)Was your family supportive of your new venture? My parents and siblings were always supportive. My father is a very creative individual. He is a Lecturer attached to the Sri Lankan Education Department. My late Mother, to date, remains my biggest inspiration. She helped me understand the true meaning of happiness and the importance of always working with a smile on my face.
What advice would you give other start-ups? If at first you don’t succeed, pull yourself up and keep moving forward. Don’t give up. You may fail nine times but will succeed the tenth time. Learn from your mistakes and keep improving yourself and your business. Get to know your audience, your clients. It’s imperative that you understand them, their mindset and their buying patterns. Invest time in studying your target audience.
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