As every blazing fire begins with a little spark, as a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, the same concept applies to successful businesses all around the globe. They all started as startups. “Mora Ventures 1.0”, pitching challenge was conducted by the “Entrepreneurship Society” of University of Moratuwa. It is an event which is one of it’s kind that mainly focuses on promoting and helping startups by undergraduates.
Mr. Thikshan Arulampalam the Co-founder of “bundlhub” and Mr. Rangana Smarasighe the Co- founder of “bundlhub” and the CEO of “Insharp Technologies” attended as the guest speakers at the second session of Mora ventures 1.0
Mr. Heminda Jayaweera who is also a serial innovator and an entrepreneur invited Mr. Thikshan Arulampalam and Mr. Rangana Samarasinghe on stage. This was an interactive session to ignite and inspire the enthusiastic student engineers present at the occasion. “How many of you have heard of our startup bundlhub?” Mr. Arulampalam kick started the session by asking a question from the audience.
Then Mr. Rangana followed him asking yet again another question. “How many of you, want to start a startup?” All these questions paved the way for Mr. Rangana to narrate his own life story about starting his company “Insharp technologies”. According to him it had all started in his study room. He has had the qualifications and the work experience as a software developer and a software architect but he had always had the thirst to do something different. He wanted to start his own company! Those days the concept of entrepreneurship and startups were like unknown waters for many people. A few people knew about them. They were afraid to initiate a startup. Accepting the challenge, he started his company and received his first software project worth the value of $ 600. After building that relationship with his first customer Insharp slowly advanced to receive a $20 000 worth project. “Even we didn’t know that we were developing” said Mr. Rangana. As time passed the number of developers under him increased, the company shifted from that little room to a larger house and the client based grew, with trust. The startup which started in a small study room found itself to a company that has potential. The students listened to this success story with awe as Mr. Rangana next stated the life changing moment of his working career. It was none other than meeting his companion and co-founder of bundlhub Mr. Thikshan Arulampalam.
Then it was time for Mr. Arulampalam to awake his past. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but things don’t go the way we want. I worked 10 years at MIT then after getting the Green Card I got the chance to open my first company” he said. He also mentioned how marketing can come in handy when starting a business or creating a product.
The next piece of advice he had to offer was not to hesitate to enter into a partnership with someone else who has a different skill set when developing a business of your own, just as Mr. Rangana as a developer found a good marketing person in Mr. Arulampalam. According to him he found the best team to work together. “It’s just like a marriage; there can be fights” added Mr. Rangana giving a touch of humor to what he was saying. Regardless of these mismatches the important thing is to collaborate and to see a gap which can be filled by a new startup or an idea. Therefore at their first meet up Mr. Rangana had conveyed his idea to Mr. Arulampalam and he said that this idea has had found it’s way to success today as a result of their collaboration.
Then the discussion found it’s way towards “Bootstrap-Entrepreneurship” Mr. Rangana stated that funding was indeed a massive challenge for entrepreneurs. Agreeing to the above Mr. Arulampalam stated that even though lots of people have ideas they don’t have the technology to solve their problems. In simple terms people have billion dollar ideas, but they don’t know how to execute them.
Then he moved on to explain more about their startup “bundlhub”. It is an app which helps you create value by giving items you no longer need, to somebody else. In other terms if somebody has something to give away, one can simple upload a picture where people can bid for it, swap it for something else or can give it for free.
“Insharp technologies” is the first commercial company in Asia to deliver commercial grade GoogleGlass software applications to the world. The lesson behind such an accomplishment is to have a simple concept and to have the focus in implementing the solution. “Don’t try to pitch an idea to the investors, but try to develop that idea. Throughout your life rather than running after investors, why not start today with the resources you have” That indeed was a million dollar advice by Mr. Rangana.
Then Mr. Arulampalam spiced up that idea by referring to how Google and facebook started. Both those companies were startups and now they are controlling the world economy. He did not forget to mention a couple of good books, important sites and some real life stories of several successful entrepreneurs to motivate the keen undergraduates.
Then the questions from the undergraduates came floating in.“How can a person know the potential or the value of his/her idea?” one student raised the question. Every idea gets validated by the market. Mr. Arulampalam said that people or the buyers themself can give you a bag full of ideas if one approaches them properly. Then, on the day you hit the market with your product you already have a subset of people who needs your product.
“If a person is not technically sound yet still want to initiate a startup, how should they select a business partner?” that was yet again a very intriguing question by another undergraduate. “It should be based on trust. After pitching your idea to a potential partner think far ahead about what this person can do for you today and later in the years to come” the student received a satisfactory answer.
Finally winding up the session Mr. Arulampalam had one last piece of advice in store. “All what we talked about today is like the classic example of Bacon and eggs. It’s a commitment for the hen but a sacrifice for the pig. A startup is a sacrifice! Are you ready for the hard work and sacrifice?” This indeed was an awe-inspiring way to end the session.
This was yet another step by “Insharp Technologies” and “bundlhub” to reach and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. This is not the end but it’s just the beginning for more exiting ventures from bundlhub and Insharp Technologies.