August 3rd was the day, the Launch Day for the 7 startups that came out of this year's AITI Program in Sri Lanka. After 7 intensive weeks 34 students of the University of Moratuwa were ready to showcase their mobile/web products to the world. This event belonged to these 34 students who spent days and nights during the past 7 weeks formulating ideas, identifying customer needs, and developing products, and were now at the Launch Day they will have a chance to present to the audience for feedback, mentoring, and possibly investment.
The Launch Day event was held at the Hilton Colombo Residence Hotel (formerly called the JAIC Hilton). With over 150 attendees, the event brought together local entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials under one roof. This event not only provided the startups a platform to launch their products but also served as the networking event for the burgeoning entrepreneurial community of Sri Lanka.
Each team had organized a booth to showcase their products to the guests. The teams organized live demonstrations for their mobile/web apps and setup posters detailing their businesses, technology, and target customers.
The agenda for the Launch Day can be found here.
The highlight of the event were the 7 startups presenting their products and business to the attendees and our panel of judges. The format gave the teams 5-7 minutes for the presentation, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. The teams effectively answered questions ranging from application functionality, customers acquisition, financial projections, and future plans.
Our keynote speaker, Honorable Mr. Harsha de Silva, delivered a riveting speech in support of AITI and associated activities in helping the entrepreneurial community of Sri Lanka. He wished for AITI-type events to be more common rather than a one-off event. He personally committed to be being a champion of AITI and promised continued support from the government and its agencies. The AITI-Sri Lanka team is lucky to have a dedicated and enthusiastic champion like Dr. de Silva.
The team presentations and keynote speech were followed by an hour long showcase event where the guests and judges got a chance to interact with the student entrepreneurs, understand their businesses, and try their products first hand.
Our sponsors had lined up selected awards for startups based on Technical Innovation, Social Impact, Audience Choice, and Startup with the Most Promise. After the showcase event the judges announced the winners of the awards which were presented by the sponsors:
Dialog - Technical Innovation Award: BitWave
Etisalat - Audience Choice Award: GlassCUBE
Mobitel - Social Impact Award: ZoomEx
Faculty of University of Moratuwa - Most promising startup: GlassCUBE
Pictures from the event can be found here
The Launch Day event marked the finale of the AITI program in Sri Lanka. This event and the program itself at the University of Moratuwa would not have been successful without the continued support of our sponsors who made the event possible.
Dialog, Etisalat, and Mobitel. Along with LK Domain Registry and Dr. Gihan Dias.
Special thanks to Prof. Dileeka Dias of the University of Moratuwa. Prof. Dileeka was instrumental in making the AITI program a success and it was a privilege to work with her.
The Launch Day event on August 3rd marked the end of the AITI program in Sri Lanka but most importantly it marked the start of something great for the island nation. 34 students from the University of Moratuwa formed 7 companies with unique and innovative products. AITI program may have ended but the work on these companies has just started. We are excited, as should you be, about the potential these 7 startups have. The Launch Day provided these startups with the platform or boost required to touch the stars. We are extremely proud of the achievements of these students in the short timespan and eagerly look forward to seeing them grow into lifelong entrepreneurs forming the next great enterprise in Sri Lanka.