Mobile World Congress 2016, the largest mobile tech expo in the world was held from the 22nd to the 25th of February 2016 in Barcelona, Spain with the participation of over 100,000 attendees from 204 countries around the world. The attendees include the top C level personnel of all leading mobile organizations in the world, decision makers, consultants and all leading international media. A part of the Mobile World Congress, is the 4 Years From Now event which is a startup focused event that happens alongside MWC since 2014. This year the 4YFN was attended by 12,500 attendees including MWC attendees and had nearly 500 exhibiting startups all the way from the United States of America in the Western part of the world to Taiwan and South Korea in the Eastern part of the world.

Also, participating at 4YFN were 10 Sri Lankan startups facilitated by the Spiralation program of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Arimac Lanka, Enhanzer, ErbenLab, Evensel-IT, Kaawo, Katha, LiveRoom, PayMedia, PickFi and SquareMobile were selected by ICTA through an application and evaluation process to exhibit and participate in the event. Sri Lanka being an emerging startup ecosystem was exhibiting our talent among mature ecosystems such as Tel Aviv and Paris.

Sri Lankan Startup Delegation at 4YFN | Pic via Spiralation Facebook Page
Sri Lankan Startup Delegation at 4YFN | Pic via Spiralation Facebook Page

The startups were able to meet with potential clients, probable investors, future partners and also talk to people to validate their ideas and improve their offerings. Further, the participants were also able to take part in various workshops and listen to over 200 speakers talk on various startup related topics from starting up a business all the way upto how to exit.

A highlight this year was the selection of Kaawo as one of the 15 finalists of the 4YFN IBM Global Mobile Innovators Tournament. Kaawo tweaked their collaborative storytelling platform as a on demand internet radio service which saw them being one of the 5 finalist in the Smart Homes and Buildings category. A Sri Lankan startup being on a global startup competition stage alongside USA, Russia, Canada and Indonesia was a refreshing sight.

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The Kaawo team at 4YFN | Picture by Ahamed Nishadh
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The Kaawo team along with the other finalists of the Global Mobile Innovators Tournament | Picture by Ahamed Nishadh

Spiralation and the Sri Lankan delegation to 4YFN would also like to thank the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Barcelona, Spain Mr. Augustin Llanas Armet for visiting the pavilion and meeting with the delegation as well as hosting everyone for dinner on the 25th of February in Barcelona.

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At the end of the 3 day event, the startups were able to meet a number of people that would help them grow their businesses in various way. Some startups have already forged partnerships and started discussions with potential clients before they returned to Sri Lanka after the mission.

The Spiralation Tech Startup Support Program by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka provides various types of support for technology entrepreneurs and early stage technology related companies for developing their start-ups. The program includes but not limited to seed funding, trainings, networking sessions, business promotion opportunities locally and internationally, encouragement programs, hackathons, etc. The aim of Spiralation is to promote, encourage and support technology related entrepreneurship and innovation within Sri Lanka.

If you are a startup in Sri Lanka and would like to be notified about future opportunities available through Spiralation and ICTA, please visit www.spiralation.com and add your details to the Sri Lanka Startup Database. You can also join us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/spiralation to keep yourself updated on the latest in the Sri Lankan startup scene.

More Pictures From the Spiralation Pavilion at 4YFN