2017 was an exciting year for us. We launched StartupX Foundry on 2nd and 3rd May 2017 respectively with two events. The first was the Colombo Tech Startup Seminar and the second, a gala event that saw the meeting of movers and shakers from the startup scene, investors and policymakers.
We had a few specific goals for 2017. Chief among which was to increase the brand presence of StartupX Foundry and position SXF as an important catalyst in the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. We had a few specific events and agendas in mind and one of the most important in this regard was the Colombo Tech Startup Seminar, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, during which there was much discussion about startups and what areas startups should focus on, in terms of product development, product placement, investor relations and focus on growth.
We also wanted startups to know about StartupX Foundry as a not-for-profit startup incubator. Aloka, Program Manager at StartupX Foundry, also introduced SXF at Hive Live organized by Yamu and MAS.
StartupX Foundry also took part in multiple Startup Weekend events in Negombo, Trincomalee and Jaffna and later became a mentorship partner for the Startup Weekend Sri Lanka movement, offering mentoring services for the three best finalists of each startup weekend event. What’s more, StartupX Foundry sponsored the Yarl Geek Challenge and participated as resource providers in YouthHack Sri Lanka and Hackadev by UNDP.
As a result of all the outreach programmes we’ve been conducting, we had a lot of people interested in setting up startups coming in and talking to us. At many of these meetings, one of the most prominent shortcomings was that founders lack good understanding about the viability and long-term sustainability of their businesses. Also, many of the founders misunderstood the difference between a startup and a SME. With these shortcomings in mind, we’re now developing a curriculum for startup founders to validate their ideas.
Meanwhile, the 99X Technology projects being incubated as StartupX Foundry startups showed good progress during 2017. Tracified won the NBQSA Gold Award for Retail & Supply Chain Management at the 19th National Best Quality ICT Awards. Both Tracified and Maturify are in several discussions at various stages to integrate their products with several clients, in Sri Lanka and overseas.
While all this is going on, we managed to bring on board two startups for incubation. Partners of StartupX Foundry will start necessary prototyping and development work during the first quarter of 2018.
As for 2018, StartupX Foundry has some big plans. We would like to see a lot more startups sprouting up in Sri Lanka. With this in mind, we are launching our startup certification programme to validate Sri Lankan startups. With the certification programme, we intend on bridging an important gap between startups and investors, and StartupX Foundry will be positioned as a neutral evaluator. We’re still considering our options with this programme and chances are that we might launch this as a service offering from StartupX Foundry in due course.
We will also strengthen our relationships with existing startup communities and programmes. With that in mind, we have already set up some agreements with IIT Code Sprint, SLASSCOM Entrepreneurship Forum and Startup Weekend Sri Lanka chapter.
We would like to help and guide anyone who wants to set up a startup. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on email@example.com.