2018 is just weeks away, and we’re about to say goodbye to a year that has seen plenty of progress for Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem, with new funding initiatives, accelerators, and startups such as oDoc winning a million dollars in seed funding.
November was a bit of a quiet month, perhaps because all the startups were battling it out at events like John Keells X and CIMA Launchpad. As the holiday season approaches activity seems to be tapering off, as companies take a much needed break .
If you’re interested in getting involved in volunteering efforts in Sri Lanka, and aren’t quite sure where to apply for such opportunities, that’s where Gudppl come in. They aren’t the newest of startups, but they are definitely providing a valuable service as volunteering in Sri Lanka can at times tend to be a case of either knowing someone that knows someone, or doing some detective work to find the opportunities you’re interested in.
It’s a simple process of logging in, either using your Facebook account or signing up separately. Afterwards, you’re taken to a dashboard with all current opportunities available from which you can select and apply if you find a position of interest.
The opportunities page seems to work as a sort of public filter, as upon signing up there are definitely a lot more opportunities available than if you were just browsing through. This might throw off some who may have just wanted to see what kind of opportunities were available before signing up.
Overall it’s definitely a great initiative, as it’s not always a case of a lack of volunteers, but rather not knowing where to start looking for opportunities.
While we do have the likes of Uber, PickMe, and other cab services, sometimes finding a cab can prove tricky, and an intoxicated mind is not the best when it comes to rationality and patience. Not everyone these days has access to a private driver, and if you’re among a circle of friends without a teetotaler or a willing ‘designated driver’, you’re likely putting yourself and others at risk by stepping into a vehicle.
That’s where DrinkDrive is hoping to step in, by providing a chauffeur service for anyone that is planning on a big night out.
The service seems to be simple. You hire a chauffeur for the day/night, and when you’re ready to head back home, you can use the app and have them pick you up within 2 minutes, as we imagine (and somewhat hope) they’ll be parked at the closest parking lot available. Whether someone intoxicated will be capable of using the app is perhaps a question that will arise here. Perhaps setting certain reminders or notifications (or a caring chauffeur) could be a way of reminding an intoxicated user that may well have forgotten they hired a chauffeur in the first place.
If DrinkDrive can grow into an efficient, and trustworthy service, they could well be responsible for saving lives.
It has becoming increasingly difficult to find specific pieces of literature at a bookstore, and while the likes of Big Bad Wolf and the Colombo Book Fair are great initiatives, they only run for a limited time and can tend to favour English readers when it comes to their catalogue.
KBooks isn’t trying to compete with Amazon or large vendors, but instead is offering a service for local readers to be able to purchase both foreign and local literature, whether it’s in English, Sinhala, or Tamil.
KBooks has plenty of books available for avid readers looking for their next reading fix. With translated versions of foreign literature also available, it is definitely a convenient service to have, as while English readers may have moved to e-books, the options available for Sinhala and Tamil readers are still limited.
The service works on a simple add to cart and checkout concept, with multiple payment options available, including cash on delivery, and an option of normal post or courier delivery which is ideal if you’re potentially buying the books as a last minute gift. The site isn’t the fanciest, and perhaps a few tweaks to the layout could help, but at the end of the day it’s mostly functional.
This year has shown us that Sri Lankans are an intuitive bunch, and are constantly looking to bring new ideas to the table. Now it’s up to all parties involved to ensure startups get the support they need, and the proper kind of advice, as that can often mean the difference between boom and bust no matter how amazing the product or service is.
Cover image: videoblocks.com