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startup

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With more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for infection, dengue virus is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.

There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. When infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment can substantially lower the risk of medical complications and death.

We are living in a tech enabled world and yet to use technology to prevent and cure Dengue. #StopDengue cause talks about, using could and mobile technologies in Dengue prevention and cure in a community driven architecture. Using #StopDengue service, anyone in the world can report about a Dengue incident and that will be accepted and confirmed by Medical authorities near the reporter and then those alerts will be pushed to those who are near the danger area, thus they can take necessary measures to prevent Dengue.

Architecture

#StopDengue cloud is a platform that collect every aspects of Dengue from the community. They can report about dengue incidents, deaths, cured patient details and more. The platform save all data collected from the community ordinary people with the location details. It process the information and give alerts to other people, doctors and medical officers in the specific location. With those alerts they can prevent themselves from dengue and make proper countermeasures for the risk. People can even report about environmental pollution that boost dengue spreading through the system, so we can take legal action for the polluters.

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Microsoft technologies are being used in this platform, such as ASP, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure, Bing Maps and Office 365. Using Windows 8 and Windows Phone push notifications and Scheduled reminders, people will get the localized and generalized alerts on time. Those alerts contains, near by dengue risks, weather alerts, necessary helps such as blood, money and medical facilities for needy people. With Tile updates the apps will give brief and general methodologies to prevent Dengue.  Azure is the back end of the system, this system store all the data of the platform in Azure cloud database. Using Azure Mobile services the system provide Push notifications to the people including Doctors and Medical Officers.  Using Office 365, #StopDengue platform create documents and generate reports and  give questionnaires and other forms through this service.

winapp

This Sri Lankan native startup has been selected as one of the finalist project in Microsoft Youthspark Challenge for Change program of 2014. This startup has taken a place with in first 20 places where there were 800+ participants all around the world.

This project needs votes and supports to make it a reality. If this project gets more votes and secure a place with in first five out of twenty, Microsoft will directly fund this project. You can give your support by visiting https://youthsparkchallenge.com/voteentry.cfm?id=76, cast your vote share http://tiny.cc/stopdengue URL in your Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

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We have been listening to the word ‘Startup’ more often these days, haven’t we? Well, what’s a start-up? A start-up is nothing more than starting a company on your own, being an entrepreneur and taking risks. Some people might get the idea “two foreign guys in a garage”, just like the most success stories out there. But then we also have our local experts, who have excelled starting their own business.

_MG_0753“Getting a startup going on is very risky. At times you get emotionally involved” said Manoj Ranaweera, who has founded many startups, such as Techcelerate in UK and was down in Sri Lanka when this forum took place. He said, having an MBA gives you overconfidence and that is what happened to him when he was struggling to get up on his own.

“It is a myth that all the businesses from Silicon Valley will take over the world. In UK, it is harder than San Francisco, and in Sri Lanka, it is much harder to start a start-up and keep going.” – Manoj

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And then we also had Shakya Lahiru Pathmalal, who is the Founder and CEO of takas.lk. To inspire the gathering, Shakya shared some tips he followed. “If you can’t connect with people, if you don’t know what your investors are interested in, you are doing it wrong. You need to really brush up on the story before pitching.” He also suggested that you pitch to your family before you pitch to your investors, so that you can think through your business model according to their feedback.

“Believe in what you do while being honest. Investment doesn’t come only in the form of Rupees, but you make lifelong friends as well” Lahiru concluded with that note.

Jeevan Gnanam was next up to present his speech. Being an Angel Investor, Director at SAKS and SLASSCOM which is the leading IT body in the country and CEO of Orion City as well as St. Antony’s Industries Group. Orion City was started because there was a lack of proper IT ecosystem in Sri Lanka. ‘Lankan Angel Network funds and inspires start-ups. Having created that, it is great to see that Startup ecosystem is growing in SL’, said Jeevan.

“Don’t be afraid to fail, but get used to it and get up, quick.” a tip by Jeevan.

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Once the main speakers were done with their presentations, we moved on to a Panel Discussion where the speakers touched on some delicate matters which were raised by the audience. “I suppose I have a very expensive taste. Essentially this gave me two options, a calculated decision was taken into consideration which led me to create takas.lk” – Lahiru.

“Whether we like it or not, our parents make decisions for us for our betterment. We need more people here in Sri Lanka to take chances at a very young age. This is the lesson I have learnt from Manchester, UK” – Manoj.

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“Do more, with less. We have at least 5-6 new competition every year. Ecosystem is lacking mentorship, people giving time rather than money is more valuable these days” – Jeevan.

The first panel discussion was followed by another panel discussion consisting of Ruwindhu Peiris, Anushka Wijesinha, Fayaz Hudah and Deshal De Mel. Manoj moderated the session. Issues were raised and addressed. For instance, PayPal issue. “I agree, there are things to be done from government’s end as well, such as PayPal. It is important that Government make these things feasible. Government has the role of creating the ecosystem” – Deshal.

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Time was running out and a cocktail session was awaiting all of us. The crowd dispersed after having some refreshments while networking and enhancing their understanding about proper mechanism of starting a start-up.

Catch-up with archived live blog post here. Also check the photo album which can be found here.

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The Sri Lanka Inventors Commission(SLIC) signed a MOU with the Lanka Angel Network(LAN), a network for angel and private investors interested in investing in Start-ups and other business ventures by Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

In accordance with the the agreement, SLIC will be responsible for bringing forward talented inventors and young entrepreneurs and commercialise their inventions. Apparently, the priority would be given to who were affected during the Sahasak Nimevum Exhibition. Afterwards the inventors will have to pitch their ideas and face a comprehensive and a strict selection process by a panel of experts of LAN.

According to Financial Times, in 2013 alone, LAN has managed to raise over Rs. 175 million for 12 start-ups in Sri Lanka. In comparison the average funds raised among angel groups internationally is approximately US$ 2.5 million.

Eight clusters  according to which LAN organises its activities are as follows:

1. ICT (SaaS, ecommerce, online payments, gaming, Mobile & Telco VAS)
2. Tourism and Leisure
3. Knowledge, Learning and Education services
4. Energy (Renewable, Solar, etc.)
5. Fashion, Design, Retail and Consumer
6. Health Care, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
7. Discrete and Process Manufacturing, Nanotechnology, 3D Printing
8. Agriculture, Supply Chain, Logistics, Shipping, Transportation, Packaging

Angel Networks, which are extremely popular and proved effective in North America and Europe, comprise of investors investing in inventors and entrepreneurs who are starting up their businesses. Due to the high risk nature of these ventures, the traditional funding methods such as debt capital may not be the most recommended. Hence, Angel Networks can assist these ventures to grow and thrive in the market. This is indeed a very good news for the Sri Lankan inventors and entrepreneurs.

Source: Financial Times, Image Courtesy: Echelon

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    It was not just another day of entertainment at the Park Street Mews. Entrepreneurial aspirations, inspiring level of enthusiasm and positive team spirit were flowing through each and every corner of the building. Young university students from MIT Global Start-up Labs GSL program were getting ready to present their ideas to experienced professionals from the industry for feedback and support. The students were trained, mentored and guided by instructors from MIT, and local entrepreneurial leaders, through a comprehensive entrepreneurship development program.

    “Ready, Set, Pitch”! The competition started. Students presented their ideas with confidence, demonstrating what they learned during the program, as well as their technical competencies. Sitting in a corner as a mentor, I have chosen not to judge, as all ideas were equally good, and sometimes it’s the approach they used in presenting it to the audience or their plan to implement the idea was what made the difference from one project to the other. There were many ideas, more than what they presented.

    It was the Silicon Valley spirit mingling around.

    The culture created with the program inspired them to think new and develop various alternatives to the ideas they have initially come up with. It was a great start, and the work is now in progress. At the end of the Phase 1, many lessons were there to learn. The expectation is that, there will be many new start-ups entering the economy within next few months through the GSL program.

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    Role of a Mentor

    It was thanks to Marian Rupasinghe I got the opportunity to get involved in the GSL project as a mentor. It is an experience I will never forget in my life, because of the happiness I feel in my heart, every time the teams move forward. They have the talents, they are capable of building a new world, and all they need is just a little support and encouragement.

    As a mentor, I spend every possible minute with the teams, regardless of whether they are allocated to me or not, and help them explore many possibilities in turning their dreams into reality. All mentors who are involved in GSL program sacrifice their time to help these young leaders of the future, sacrificing many hours of their own businesses, with only one expectation, that they will also turn into successful entrepreneurs.

    Dr. Madhu Fernando sharing her views and suggestions with the contestants.

    MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been running Global Start up Labs since year 2000, in over 10 countries around the world. Initially the focus was on IT Start-ups and the program has been conducted only in one university until this year they opened it up to all university students. Aim of the program is to promote entrepreneurship to a diverse group of students and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country with many new start-ups. SLASSCOM has been actively involved in driving the program to success as it closely connects with SLASSCOM Vision 2022 and 1000 start-up program.

    Our Responsibility towards an Innovative Nation

    The contestants were exposed to industry experts who offered valuable insight.

    The contestants were exposed to industry experts who offered valuable insight.

    When the competition gets heated up new ideas are generated and everyone wants to perform at their best. Keeping this spirits up through the process of implementation is the main challenge any entrepreneurial development program will encounter. MIT GSL program provides their students all the necessary support to keep the innovation alive, but we all have a responsibility as industry professionals to start working on sponsoring more programs like this and continue to foster socio-economic development, and build an entrepreneurial nation. SLASSCOM and other professional organizations, as well as leading companies like Brandix, who has sponsored this year’s program, can play a major role in developing future entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial spirits are positive, they build unimagined futures. Let’s keep passing it around.

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    Join the sixth GIST TechConnect webchat and learn how to finance your company using cutting-edge crowd sourcing techniques! A panel of guest speakers will introduce viewers to the concept of crowd sourcing, walk them through crowd sourcing platforms and discuss effective strategies for using these tools to raise capital.

    Event info, here.

     

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    After the trial run on 16th this month, MIT Global Startup Lab’s actual Pitch Day took place on 27th of January 2014 at Park Street Mews. This was a revised Pitching session after consulting the mentors and going through their ideas once again if they had to change their topic of research. Industry experts and Mentors took time to attend this event from their bust Monday schedules.

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    Same teams but revised ideas were presented yesterday. Four of the outstanding teams, Team Alpha Q, Bigya, A Team and Team WII Charge from the last pitch were selected to have a separate pitching session. Harsha Purasinghe, CEO of MicroImage was amazed by the ideas and the potential these participants have and encouraged them to carry on with their market research. Amber Houghstow and Akshita Puram, Instructors at MIT Global Startup labs said that Sri Lanka has this amazing bond between the Industry and the Students, like they have never seen anywhere before.  Ruwindhu Peiris, Director at Stax Inc and a well wisher of this program gave away the thanking note and said this would be a  huge push towards SLASSCOM’s 1000 tech-Startup vision by 2022.

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    Pitch Day was followed by an Open Bar Networking session where the Students met their mentors and other industry experts and got their insights as well since there is room for corrections and improvements.

    You can find the Photo album for this event here, and catch the conversation regarding Global Startup Labs- Pitch day under the hashtag #GSLPitchDay, here.

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    Initiated in early April of 2013, MIT Global Start-up Lab started in Sri Lanka in order to empower young entrepreneurs to overcome their fears and to get them started with their ideas and their start-ups. It was observed that, our young entrepreneurs have brilliant ideas, but lack proper guidance and mindset to carry them out. That is where GSL comes in to support them, to encourage them and to assist them.

    On January 16th 2014,  ’Industry Day 2′ took place at Orion City Cafeteria, where the participants had to attend as a team or as individual components and pitch their ideas in front of the judge panel. Of course there was a ‘Mentor Involvement’ prior to this, few days back on 10th of January, guiding them on how to make ‘THE’ impression and how to present their ideas.

    After much consideration, idea ‘Car Talk’ emerged as the ultimate winner

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    People were divided into groups and then they got 2 minutes each to pitch their ideas.

    Some of the ideas that stood out from the rest were:

    A USB device capable of finding boarding place nearby for University students, an App which will find the needful people or find people having same interests as you, a review check-in location based app, an app which allows you to deposit small amount of money via your mobile app. A wearable locket which can track people and another app which will talk on behalf of your car itself to find the perfect diagnostic for it.

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    After scoring them according to the judging criteria,  the ideas pitched were shortlisted for Round 2, where they had to convince the judges furthermore in order to get into the next round. This went on for a while and at last, one team was selected as the winner. After much consideration, idea ‘Car Talk’ emerged as the ultimate winner. Reason for them to bag this was that they had it all planned out and they were ahead of all others there.

    In the end, a round table discussion took place where the mentors ‘interacted’ with the participants and also cleared some doubts they had in them.

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    We hope this initiative brings out and shines the unpolished entrepreneurs, to make the country a better place by bringing foreign revenue in and develop themselves as well and the others.

    You can find our previous articles regarding MIT Global Startup Labs here.

    Industry Day One Live Blog

    Industry Day Two  Live Blog

    Photo Album – Day One

    Photo Album – Day Two