We’ve hit the middle point of the year, a time where everyone’s checking in on their books as they plan ahead for the remainder of 2017. Fortunately, Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem sees new entries trying to bring a change into new industries.
This June, we take a look at some of the new kids on the block who are tackling the services industry, a FinTech startup with a comprehensive set of financial info, a travel app for real travel bugs, and a digital agency with a different kind of business model.
QuickHelp is one of a new set of startups that are looking to bring about a digital change to our skilled labour sector. Finding trustworthy and recommended skilled labour has become much harder these days, and startups like QuickHelp are aiming to change that.
QuickHelp is different to some of the other recent services industry-focused startups—instead of listing out individual contractors, they offer customers a chance to book people offering specific services, such as plumbers, painters and electricians.
The system does feel quite strange, since you add the particular service to a basket, giving it a sort of e-commerce vibe. You can rate the service as a whole, but this would mean that QuickHelp would need to ensure the service member allocated to a specific job meets a standard.
DesignBoo is a startup that’s registered in Australia, but is predominantly an off-shore development team based in Sri Lanka. They offer different packages depending on what a client wants to achieve, whether it’s just a website landing page or a custom-built app.
The setup is quite interesting, as they do have local clients listed (such as Nations Trust Bank) too, so they are not necessarily catering exclusively to the Australian market. Sri Lankan startups can have the tendency to think very locally, even when there are industries where a global reach is quite achievable.
Digital agencies are commonplace; however, DesignBoo’s setup is different to how most local digital agencies operate. While the idea isn’t anything revolutionary, the business model is definitely intriguing.
Mulya.lk is a startup focused on the growing FinTech market. They offer a financial comparison service for any individual interested in varying areas of finance, such as savings, deposits, gold prices, and the share market.
While Mulya is not alone in the FinTech sector, they do offer services in areas of finance that we have not come across before in a Sri Lankan startup.
It’s important to note here that there are still areas that are being worked on, according to Mulya themselves. Perhaps organising these new/yet-to-launch services in a separate section would be advisable, as clicking on a particular service to find out that it’s not currently available can cause a user frustration.
However, in the areas that are currently active, such as Fixed Deposits, they provide a comprehensive breakdown of local banks and interest percentages based on various time intervals. For those of us who are financially inept, a service such as what Mulya.lk is providing can be highly advantageous.
Trasome is a travel-focused app that aims to help people plan their trips and allow others to join them on these trips by taking a social media-style approach to the experience. It’s been around for awhile, but they’ve recently launched a new app and added in a few new features.
Currently, Trasome doesn’t have a website, which is a rather odd approach as it does decrease their visibility. Despite this, they do have a decent fanbase on Facebook.
We tried out the iOS version of the app. The process is simple—you sign up using your Google account, and then you can create a trip. First, you select your starting point and ending point, after which you select your dates, followed by the type of trip, and cost. We did get stuck at this point, as there was a pop-up informing us that the trip could not be created due to the lack of certain information; however, it didn’t quite tell us what the missing information was.
There is an app feed featuring other users who have entered trips, and you can join these trips, hence the social media-style experience. While joining a trip with strangers is probably not something for everyone, those with a tendency to travel and explore will find it interesting to tag along and meet fellow travel bugs.
There is a noticeable increase in FinTech and skilled labour services-based startups emerging. These are areas that still have plenty of room for competition and growth, and by the end of this year, we could see a more digitally-inclined society when accessing these largely word-of-mouth based services. There are also some interesting business models emerging that show us that Sri Lankan startups need to take the step of thinking globally when the market is right for it, instead of staying exclusively local.
Featured image courtesy condecdn.net