The Startup wave has hit Sri Lanka and it is steadily growing.
The potential of the country as a destination for startups is promising. The foundation has been laid, and the ingredients for a thriving startup ecosystem have come together, fast.
Following the end of the civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka has seen significant development across infrastructure in the fields of communications, IT and construction. With these key industries enjoying investment, Sri Lanka, a centre of IT knowledge, is seeing the marriage between ‘subject matter expertise’ and ‘business opportunity’, being supported by angel investors.
The landscape is favourable with the backing of local governmental and non-governmental organizations who continue to facilitate networking and knowledge sharing opportunities. It is where enthusiastic business entrepreneurs looking for implementation of new ideas and establishment of ventures, are supported by experienced expat Sri Lankans returning to the island nation. This eclectic hub of activity is fuelled by Sri Lanka’s famed high rate of literacy and concentration of software and technical expertise, as well as the presence of high speed internet access and affordable office space.
If you are also looking to startup a business in Sri Lanka, read on and learn more about the current environment. If you require any additional assistance, do contact us.
“It’s a great place to test a concept. Though comparatively small,the market has sufficient size to sustain a decent business.With major population centres so close (India,China, Indonesia) and with economic power shifting to these areas as well, Sri Lanka is an ideal place for a startup. The local support network is very active (angels, a few PE funds for future rounds, IAN is working closely with LAN) and Government regulations are quite reasonable (e.g. it quite easy to setup a new company here)”
“currently, in Sri Lanka there are more and enough credit card users and people moving forward rapidly with very good integration to the global market”
“The ones who master the e-commerce space (in Sri Lanka) will master the retail space in years to come.”
Notable Startups in the Country
Many startups have emerged in Sri Lanka over the last several years. But here are a few notable startups who have made it big.
|Square Mobile||2012||Products & Services|
|Eimsky||2010||Products & Services|
|Erben Lab||2012||Products & Services|
Incubators and Accelerators
Spiralation is the government funded technology based startup accelerator program run by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. The program was started in 2010 and over 30 startups have been funded via this program over the years.
The program follows a unique model where funding is given as a grant to startups with no equity taken. Further, startups are also given intense training for several weeks on various topics ranging from idea generation all the way to legal aspects and IP laws.
For more information, visit www.spiralation.com
Xeleration, an initiative of Startup Sri Lanka in partnership with Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd. (IIPL) is a program for taking Sri Lankan startups to the global level. High potential start-ups in Sri Lanka will be selected for mentorship, training and market access opportunities amongst others to develop and grow their product and company.
For more information, visit www.xeleration.xyz
VE is a joint initiative by Blue Ocean Ventures and Indian Angel Network. The platform provides entrepreneurs and startups in many different domains, a way to accelerate their business.
For more information, visit www.ventureengine.lk
MIT Global Startup Labs Sri Lanka
GSL is a joint venture between Massachusetts Institute of technology, University of Moratuwa and Brandix. This program is the Sri Lankan chapter of the worldwide program conducted by MIT in 16 other countries. The program started in 2011 and has continued to put out successful startups ever since.
The tech community in Sri Lanka is very active. Knowledge sharing happens all the time. Meetups, Hackathons, Competitions are held throughout the year within and outside Colombo and outside.
Users involved in or interested in various topics gather at coffee shops, corporate offices or any place they can find to relax and share knowledge.
Here is a list of the meetups that happen in Colombo and other parts of the country:
- Colombo Architecture Meetup
- Colombo Selenium Meetup
- Colombo Security Meetup
- Colombo Performance Testing Meetup
- Colombo Mobile Developer Meetup
- Colombo SharePoint Camp
- Colombo iPhone Dev Camp
- Colombo Agile Camp
- Colombo Code Camp
- Colombo WordPress Meetup
- Colombo Perftest Meetup
- Yarl IT Hub Community Meetup
- Google i/o Extended
- Colombo Artificial Intelligence Meetup
Hackathons is one of the ways where new innovations happen in Sri Lanka. Many startups in Sri Lanka such as Square Mobile, Takas, Yamu, have come via hackathons.
Here is a list of some of the hackathons that happen frequently in Sri Lanka:
- NBQSA by British Computer Society (BCS)
- e-Swabhimani by the Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA)
- YCS by Ministry of Education
- Imagine Cup by Microsoft
- Summer of Code by Google
- British Council HSBC Youth Enterprise Awards
- International Schools Software Competition by SEARCC
- National Schools’ Software Competition by CSSL
Connectivity – internet connections, rates, speeds,
- Fibre – SLT – Upto 100 Mbps – Upto $450/month
- ADSL – SLT – Upto 16 Mbps – Upto $200/month
- LTE – Dialog, Mobitel, SLT, LankaBell – Upto $250/month
- WiFi – Dialog, Mobitel, SLT, LankaCom, LankBell – Customized Packages
- 3G – Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Airtel, Hutch – Customized Packages
- Private sector owned dedicated IT-BPM parks offer ideal facilities for new entrants or expansion of existing operations.
- Orion City
- Trace Expert City
- World Trade Center (Managed by Envoy)
- Bernard Business Park (Managed by Regus)
- HNB Towers
- McLarens Building (Managed by Regus)
- Infrastructure Management
- Jones LaSalle
- Envoy Facilities Management