Ehantha Sirisena knows what it’s like to take an idea, drive it forward into an actionable plan, and finally create a company that delivers its services to some of the biggest names in the restaurant business in Sri Lanka. Ehantha is the CEO of OMAK Technologies, which builds software that helps restaurants manage their operations. The software handles everything from taking an order to updating bills, managing the restaurant staff, and a lot more.
Ehantha conceptualised OMAK on the side while working as the Deputy Chairman in a family-run textile business. He initially ran OMAK by himself with the help of a few developers. Today, OMAK employs over 30 people, which includes the Director of Marketing Strategy and Co-Founder Chrishan Perera, and Head of Operations Thiyagu Somasundaram. To Ehantha, the core team that founds a company is essential to that company’s growth. Startups are usually comprised of coders and developers ‒ those people you would need to set up a minimum viable product fast. But a diverse set of skills are needed to run a company, and OMAK succeeded by having the right people come in at the right time, who would complement the existing team and grow the company. OMAK was also one of the first companies in Sri Lanka to adopt a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, using cloud technology to deploy their services to clients.
To Ehantha, mentors are very important. When starting his company, he didn’t have mentors which may have slowed down the growth of the company as a result. But they did persevere, gaining mentors like chef Dharshan Munidasa and restaurateur Harpo Gooneratne who deployed OMAK’s products at the Ministry of Crab and Colombo Fort Café. Ehantha has developed a talent for meeting people, which has translated into prominent industry leaders coming on as part of OMAK’s board.
Ehantha’s advice is to not wait for a perfect product, but push what you have into the market and then iterate. You can learn from your mistakes and you wouldn’t know what you needed to change until you get into the market and experience it for yourself. Waiting for a perfect product that will never appear is a sure way to waste your time.
Ehantha started off with a background in electronic engineering but has since moved fully into entrepreneurship. He has a wealth of experience in the startup industry, having been through venture engines and grown his company to where it is today.
Besides his company, Ehantha is also involved in something new and interesting that will be revealed soon. So if you think you have an idea that has the potential to be something big, stay tuned till the August 13.