Talking About Seedstars Colombo

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It’s no secret that advent of startup culture has revolutionized the current job landscape with ideation and disruptive technology being utilized to create a better world. Yet the issue that most face is the lack of funding especially in emerging markets. On the 30th of June, Seedstars World will have its inaugural event in Sri Lanka.

Basically, the 8 best startups from Colombo will be invited before an investment panel to pitch their idea; the startup that wins will get the opportunity to join the Seedstars Family, and take part in global summits, which includes a bootcamp and investor forum. Moreover, the winner will get a ticket to Switzerland where he or she will get the chance to vie for USD 1 million in investment.

Interested in wowing the world with an idea that’s disruptive and redefines the term — innovation? Then you may apply here. With variety and diversity certainly being themes that run deep, Seedstars offers the same opportunity in a list of other emerging markets like Ho Chi Minh, Maputo, Prague, Sydney and Panama.

While progress with regard to startup initiatives can certainly be faster, true visionaries have lent their inspiration and efforts via initiatives like Venture Engine and Spiralation. Yet what’s required is a political framework that serves to initiate and promote such initiatives; but change is happening albeit slowly: the most recent news is how the Sri Lankan government has invested LKR 10 billion to help digitize 64 projects. In fact, the CEO of Orion City/Anton and Director of LAN, Jeevan Gnanam, went onto state how the government needs to be lobbied for change while one of the chief challenges that needs to be overcome is the lack of venture capital funds.

An initiative like Seedstars is certainly a nod in the right direction.

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Why ThirdEar Mattered Back in 2014

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Vimukthi Weerasiri and Dinal Kurukulasooriya from the University of Moratuwa wowed a panel of industry titans with their life saving app ThirdEar to bag the grand prize at VirtusaX2014. It was a unique event (initiated along with SLASSCOM) which tested teams for both their tech skills and entrepreneurial spirit.

So how does ThirdEar work? Well, it simply monitors ambient noises for the sound of vehicle horns; the app then alerts users by pausing the music that they are currently listening to every time it detects a vehicle approaching them via an algorithm that’s quite unique. With only milliseconds involved in this detection process, the app is designed as a solution to a real-world problem, and seeks to save lives.

While the downside may be a battery life that’s rather lacking, the app has achieved much acclaim from both the police. ThirdEar and its winning ways was a watershed moment of sorts, because such innovation and creativity surely will have a place in propelling Sri Lanka to achieving great things in the near future, and this is what’s important: creating and fostering talent that offers changes to the current landscape where real world solutions are on offer.

As Jayantha De Silva of SLASSCOM, at the time, said: I believe that the 20 participant teams offer a glimpse of the untapped potential in Sri Lanka’s youth. Identifying and nurturing such talent from around the island, events like VirtusaX 2014 will go a long way in helping realize our IT / BPM industry’s vision to achieve USD 5 billion in exports by 2022 while generating 200,000 jobs and creating 1,000 start-ups in this process.