“The initial seed investment gave us some breathing space to recalibrate our self-focus on our weaknesses and raising investments with the guidance of JKH support provided us with immense validation in the market. The mentoring we received from JKH executives additionally provided us with much needed insight on how to market ERP locally and internationally and they were also helpful in providing us with connections to make some of our local and foreign sales.”
Upon our entry into the JKX accelerator, we managed to gain access to resources such as customers and expertise from the John Keells Group. The Growth & Execution workshop by JKX proved rather helpful in customer acquisitions. Furthermore, the continuous support that JKX gave us through the years proved invaluable in launching and expanding Helios P2P. Finally, the seed funding provided by JKX helped us to launch our startup and achieve various accolades throughout the last 2 to 3 years as well as being fortunate enough to receive follow-up seed funding as well.
“JKX is one of the best corporate accelerators for a Sri Lankan startup who wants to grow fast. The program provides support to overcome the many barriers an early-stage startup could face such as finding early adopters, dealing with clients in a formal way and specially to open up doors for that crucial first meeting! The John Keells name, brand and accessibility allows any startup to have a strong footprint in the market. Highly recommended to give it a shot!”
“The JKX Accelerator Program provided us with the opportunity to be surrounded by other ambitious and inspiring entrepreneurs. DirectPay benefited from what is an atmospheric and energetic space along with collaboration and dedicated support from the JKH internal and external networks which was a essential in helping us take big steps forward to make the business more realistic and viable in the long term. This is certainly a program for serious entrepreneurs interested in learning how to grow successful businesses!”
“We were put through a mentorship program that helped us with our MVP’s and they pushed us to create structure in our company by connecting us with their finance and legal teams. Through the program we were also able to connect with prominent figures in the startup community and all this helped us increase credibility and gain a foothold in the market.”
“JKX has given us access to much more than just funding, we have been able to leverage our business with more exposure and expert support from their corporate and partner networks”
“There is immense credibility that a business can get when a conglomerate like JKH is backing your business and helping you along the way and we are truly satisfied, happy and grateful for the opportunities presented to our Company by the Accelerator program!”
“We were not only encouraged and motivated when we were selected for investment by JKX but obtained valuable advice and knowhow from the training programs and mentors who used their own lived-in experience to coach us on how to make difficult but critical decisions for the betterment of our company.”
Marius Ursache is a teacher and mentor at MIT and Singularity University, an experienced entrepreneur, awarded designer, brand consultant and a TechStars entrepreneur in residence. He participated in creating the Disciplined Entrepreneurship book and has developed DE Toolbox; the free tool for disciplined entrepreneurs, which is now used by over 1,000 startups around the world. He is also a mentor for accelerators such as Boomtown Boulder (United States), MVP Academy (Romania) and Eleven (Bulgaria). Marius is also the founder & CEO of Eternime; an artificial intelligence startup incubated in the MIT Entrepreneurship Development Program. As a multidisciplinary person (entrepreneurship, product development, UX/UI design, branding, information architecture and usability), Marius loves tackling tough problems and projects when he’s not traveling to remote tribal areas.
Vlad Bodi is an alumnus of the MIT Entrepreneurship program in Romania, an entrepreneur and a marketing consultant. He has founded two software development companies, one which was focused on financial software and markets. Since 2012, Vlad has been developing growth teams for Latin American startups that are expanding in the region and worldwide. Vlad is a mentor for accelerators such as Boomtown Boulder (United States) and 3IE (Chile). He is also the founder of Hppy; a company culture and engagement blog that is recognized and read by HR C-level executives worldwide.
NicNac showed off their product which was an on-demand e-butler. Their service allowed users to request anything they want from the app and have it delivered to them through a network of bike delivery people. What NicNac was doing was completely automating the order process using an ‘AI’ that made the service faster and much more scalable. The interface would make it quicker and easier to make orders as well.
Team Grubz was working on the pressing issue of finding a place to eat. Their app uses a smartphone’s GPS to find restaurants around the user that are offering special deals. When the user visits the restaurant, they can show the app to redeem the deal. Restaurant owners can use the platform to create limited time real-time offers that can help them fill tables on slow days.
Synergen had developed a smart ring that uses gestures to control computers and smartphones through bluetooth. Perhaps the most interesting part of the demonstration was realizing that the presenter was controlling the powerpoint presentation using simple gestures of her hands. The team also showed how they responded to an incoming phone call by text message simply with one gesture of their hand.
Team Onsbay was dealing with the challenge of finding skilled service professionals for home repair. They developed a platform where service agents list themselves and where homeowners can search for and book someone who would then perform the service. There was also an option for a subscription service for businesses to book a service.
Markify is a speech-driven, SaaS analytics and data searching service. A manager, for example, can use natural language voice commands to draw up a series of graphs and analytics using the parameters stated in the command. As part of the demo, the platform was used to trawl through product data on Amazon to find out gaps in inventory (a missing colour or size) that would increase sales.
Acrux was building a service called Travel Sphere which is a desktop and mobile app that would allow travellers to experience a location in virtual reality before they decide to visit it. They were planning to crowdsource the content, having contributors send in panoramic pictures of the location. Advertisers will pay to have their own content on the platform which users access for free.
BotFactory was using their AI bots to automatically reply to routine emails without the user ever having to intervene. The bot uses deep learning to study the incoming emails, label them and then reply with relevant information that exists within the inbox already. If the bot does not have enough data then it won’t reply and instead saves the message as a draft.
Inzurely was developing an online insurance agent agregator. They said that there were over 4.5 million insurance covers in the country and that customers were often unsure if they were getting the best deals. Insurance agents would submit quotes to the platform and customers can use the platform to compare different insurance quotes to select the best one. The platform then connects the customer to the agent directly, where the deal can be completed.
Introducing a secure and convenient payment option through your mobile phone – Payments made simple.
Providing a seamless customer experience in terms of restaurant table reservations, ordering of menu items, splitting of bills and payments, customer reviews and engagements.
Using AI to create relevant and informative travel packages – The Travel Influencer
An activity based real life travel game – Gamified Voyage into a Sustainable Future
A customer engagement platform to collect customer data, segment them and send targeted SMS/Emails, improving engagement and retention with customers.
First sensor-based precision agriculture solution in Sri Lanka – Technology to feed the world.
Revolutionizing vehicle/Fleet Management by means of a cloud ecosystem that uses the OBD port to provide diagnostic and analytics.
A Simple, Efficient and Interactive learning platform, for anyone to learn anything, at anytime
An on-demand food delivery business powered by a suite of mobile and web apps that connects consumers, restaurants, and delivery riders – Cravings. Delivered.
iLoan is a borrower driven online loan aggregator/powering engine with the objective of bringing a wide variety of lenders to borrowers – Access to finance at your fingertips.
Aiming to revolutionize Peer-To-Peer lending, leveraging on blockchain technology.
An e-commerce platform which is dedicated for automotive products and services – Closest companion for all your Auto needs.
An AI based Human – Tech ‘guide’ to the wonders of our Paradise Island whilst providing unique offers by handpicked vendors
One click lifestyle app for customers to get healthy and affordable meals delivered.
STAAR (Service Type Autonomous AI based Robotic platform) aims to build customizable service bots for various services like housekeeping, greeting guests, delivering food and baggage etc. They hope to expand to serve a variety of industries.
“GIFTUP” is Sri Lanka’s e-Gift voucher platform for consumers and merchants of small and large scale. Now you can send your loved ones a gift voucher instantly and let them know that you have them in your thoughts. Simply select a merchant, a value for your voucher and type in your loved one’s mobile number or email and send them the gift voucher instantly.
ANANKE is a platform built ground up for the Internet of Things. It provides general API interfaces, IoT-specific development tools and functional capabilities making it easy to develop and deliver powerful IoT solutions.
Global Tutor provides high quality Education utilizing the resources and technology of today’s context which will enhance students’ knowledge and create a community that utilizes the technology to the development of the economy.
iStay is an end-to-end digital hospitality solution where guests can order services and communicate easily comprising of a dashboard for the hotel management to track and manage orders.
PlanMash is the world’s 1st smart wedding planning app to provide the most suitable wedding image board and plan using machine learning together with the most suitable wedding vendors after analysing the preferences of couples.
BringMe is a virtual grocery shopping experience in Sri Lanka with home delivery. We guarantee best quality at the lowest price. More importantly we save your free time plus deliver your grocery requirements to your door step without any delivery fee. We ensure money back guarantee to all our customers as you are more important to us.
Team Jendo started off the proceedings with their product. Jendo was working on a platform to predict cardiovascular health through noninvasive means. They demoed a pulse oximetric probe (basically a clip that attaches to your finger) through which they collected signals from the pulse (pulse plethysmography), sent it to their platform and used it to make inferences on the subject’s health. The team stated that people largely preferred cheap and noninvasive methods to do health checkups. These devices would be sold to clinics and cheaper version to individuals. Patients could get their checkups done at any clinic because their profiles and data were available in the cloud.
Builderbuy.lk is Sri Lanka’s first online marketplace for the engineering industry connecting material suppliers & contractors
vSHIP is a platform that allows Transport Requesters (Clients) & Transport Service Providers (Transporters) to share assets through aggregation. By doing this, we aim to help increase efficiency, optimize utilization and bring down the cost of transporting products.
An online shopping platform selling premium products. The product categories range from electronics to music and home audio, to gadgets, perfumes, smartphones, books, and fashion as well.
BLUE LOTUS 360 is a highly configurable SaaS cloud ERP solution for project, job, batch based industries in construction, Manufacturing, trading and service industry. BL360’s application is built to make it easy to do business across multiple verticals and locations by consolidating and standardizing processes, providing visibility across organization, and help in simplifying compliance in many areas of business such as Accounting and Finance, Human Resource, Inventory, Procurement, Project Management,Quantity surveying etc.
This activity based eLearning platform for grade 5 students was designed for addressing the limitation of traditional methods of class room education system and adapting latest developments of eLearning concepts such as gamification, Micro-Learning etc.
Krishan Balendra was appointed as an Executive Director of JKH in November 2016 and was appointed as Deputy Chairman of JKH on January 1st 2018. He is also the Chairman of Nations Trust Bank PLC. He was previously the President of the Leisure and Retail Sectors at JKH. Mr. Balendra joined JKH in 2002 as Head of Corporate Finance after stints at UBS Warburg, Hong Kong in Investment Banking and Aitken Spence Sri Lanka in Corporate Finance. Mr. Balendra, a former Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange, holds a law degree (LLB) from the University of London and an MBA from INSEAD. He is also the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Sri Lanka in addition to being a Member of the Main Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
“Dumith is Chairman of Asia Securities Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, a leading independent Investment Bank in Sri Lanka which offers Investment Banking, Research, Stock Broking and Wealth Management services to international and domestic institutions, corporates and high net worth individuals. Dumith has two decades of experience in international Investment Banking based in New York and Hong Kong with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (from 1995 until 2007) and Credit Suisse AG (from 2007 until 2013). Until 2013, he was Managing Director and Group Chief Operating Officer for Credit Suisse Asia Pacific. He has worked in roles across Investment Banking, Equities, Venture Capital and Corporate Strategy. Dumith is a Non-Executive Director of the Colombo Stock Exchange, Union Assurance PLC, and Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC and a member of the Economic Policy Steering Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Chairman of Lankan Angel Network (LAN) Sri Lanka’s main angel investor organization. He holds a BA in Physics & Economics from Middlebury College in the U.S. and an MBA from Harvard Business School. “
Ajit Gunewardene is the Founder & CEO of Bluestone Capital Private Limited. He was the Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings PLC and has been a member of the Board for over 24 years. In addition to this he was the Chairman of Union Assurance PLC a leading life insurance provider in Sri Lanka. He is the Founder Chairman of Digital Mobility Solutions (PVT) Limited (Pick Me) – the leading ride hailing service provider in the Country. He is a member of the Board of SLINTEC, a company established for the development of nanotechnology in Sri Lanka under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology. He has also served as the Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange and Nations Trust Bank PLC. Ajit has a degree in Economics and brings over 36 years of management experience.
Ramesh presently leads the Digital and Technology strategy/execution for the John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange, as its Executive Vice President/ Group CIO whilst providing leadership for the Group’s IT Consultancy and Services’ Organization, John Keells IT as its CEO. He is a seasoned Digital cum Business Executive, Leader and Strategist, who has provided effective stewardship for many organizations, including premier, blue-chip, conglomerates, working in some of the most competitive markets in the technology industry. He has over 25 years of experience, with 15+ at the C-level, in Sri Lanka, USA and India with an operational footprint covering territories such as USA, Canada, UK, Nordics, Middle East, Australia and emerging markets. He holds to his credit a PhD (Management) from Keisei University, South Korea, MSc(Computer Science) with Phi Kappa Phi Honours from Rochester Institute of Technology, a MBA(General) from Postgraduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka; BSc.Eng.(Electronics & Telecommunications) with First class Honours from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.
Gihan Cooray was appointed as an Executive Director of JKH in November 2016 and was appointed as Group Finance Director of JKH on January 1st 2018. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Nations Trust Bank PLC. Mr. Cooray holds an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University, Houston, Texas. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, a Certified Management Accountant of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Australia and has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. He serves as a Member of the Sub-Committee on Economic, Fiscal and Policy Planning of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
Markify is a speech-driven, SaaS analytics and data searching service. A manager, for example, can use natural language voice commands to draw up a series of graphs and analytics using the parameters stated in the command. As part of the demo, the platform was used to trawl through product data on Amazon to find out gaps in inventory (a missing colour or size) that would increase sales..