The number of technology related start-ups in Sri Lanka have grown over the last several years. While a considerable number have succeeded, quite a number of start-ups have also failed due to several reasons. One of the major reasons for the failures of start-ups is not having the proper guidance/mentoring as well as financial issues.
With this in mind, Sri Lanka's first ever startup conference and showcase called Disrupt Asia 2016 was organized by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka on the 28th of July 2016 by bringing some of the best in the ecosystem as well as start-up veterans to share their experience with new start-up founders and address many burning questions budding entrepreneurs have. The event was attended by nearly 350 startups, entrepreneurs, corporates, students and media while 42 speakers including 5 from Silicon Valley.
Building on the success of 2016, Disrupt Asia returned in 2017 for a second year on the 12th of July 2017 again at the Hilton Colombo. Once again, the event was a resounding success with nearly 400 attendees participating including 45 investors, 40 academics, corporates, students, media, entrepreneurs and 28 startups showcasing their innovative products. In 2017, in addition to the existing features of the event which were the conference, networking, startup showcase, investor forum and startup battles, an academic forum, workshops for entrepreneurs and investor speed dating was also added.
In 2018, Disrupt Asia was expanded from a conference and startup showcase to a conference and innovation festival showcasing innovations from different fields and for different demographics while promoting STEAM Education which is a key pillar of Innovation ecosystem. Over 1000 participated and 29 startups showcased their solutions. Through feedback received from the startups that showcased, in total, all 29 startups have made contacts with close to 175+ potential clients interested in their products and 90+ potential partnerships. Post event report can be downloaded from here
49 startups applied for Disrupt Asia 2018 Startup Battle, out of which 20 startups were shortlisted and selected to pitch in the semi-finals. The top 4 were selected at the semi-finals to pitch at the Grand Finale at the Main Stage of Disrupt Asia 2018 from which the winner and runner-up were selected.