Five teams were recently shortlisted, out of a total of 11 participating, for the May 12, 2012, Colombo edition of web-based interview programme, This Week in Start-ups (TWiST), which is hosted on ThisWeekIn.com.
The finalists, web content and social media analytics dashboard Xaffo, reality TV type content-based social network StageYou.TV, restaurant management system OWI, business process manager eDGEVANTAGE and cloud-oriented SME services suite thinkCube, will each have the opportunity to make an one-minute, elevator-style pitch to the programme's host; Internet entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Calacanis, the co-creator of Weblogs Inc, a network of blogs for professionals that currently features popular tech-based blog engadget.com in its line-up.
eDGEVANTAGE (Jehan Bastians), Xaffo (Mangala Karunarathne), StageYou.TV (Deepamala Abeysekara), OWI Systems (Ehantha Sirisena) and thinkCube (Buddhika Siddisena) were selected by a panel of judges that included Dirk Pereira, CEO of Union Assurance; R. Muralidaran, Managing Director/CEO of Bartleet Religare Securities; Irishad Ally, Deputy General Manager of PABC Retail Banking; Jeevan Gnanam, CEO of Orion City; Ashique M. Ali, Director of Talliance; J.C. Ekanayake, COO of JKCS; Fayaz Hudah, Programme Head for Private Sector Development at ICTA; and Chandana Ranasinghe, Head of Process Improvements at Brandix. Meanwhile, according to one of the event's organisers, Ruwindhu Pieris, a Director at tech consultancy Stax Inc, TWiST Colombo is primarily tasked with being a match making exercise whereby more mature companies would have an opportunity to get input and network with business leaders and other entrepreneurs, and this will continue to serve as the organisation's goal beyond just the May 12 event.
He further noted that those seeking funding will eventually also have access to elements of Sri Lanka's Diaspora interested in investing in local companies.
Also, while his organisation's beginnings were in IT start-ups, there were plans to branch out into other sectors such as education construction, tourism, etc. (JH)