Uber Springboard: Sri Lankan start-ups set to soar with mentorship program

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  Uber, the global ride hailing and food and grocery delivery platform, today hosted “Uber Springboard” – an initiative to encourage Sri Lankan start-ups to strengthen the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. With support from the Ministry of Technology, Government of Sri Lanka, Uber has selected 3 start-ups from a tech start-up competition that are set to travel to Uber’s centre of excellence in India for a mentorship program.

As part of DIGIECON 2030, Uber’s tech leaders interacted with 26 Sri Lankan start-ups and provided feedback and guidance. After a rigorous evaluation process, the jury of Uber Springboard has selected 3 start-ups for further mentorship which includes KReader, ManKiwwa, and Megic.

KReader | Founder: Heshan J Peiris

The start-up offers a subscription-based digital reading framework for local languages in Sri Lanka. It provides eBooks, Audiobooks, AI-based Text to Speech with Emotions, and Text to Sign Language for personalised and inclusive reading experiences.

ManKiwwa | Founder: Shohan Kalusuriya

This venture offers a transformative platform that bridges the gap between citizens and government authorities, empowering citizens to report civic issues seamlessly.

Megic | Founder: Yashen Ariyathilaka

Founded by 16 year old Yashen, this start-up is an innovative AI-driven EdTech platform personalised for maths learning in Sri Lanka that aims to democratise access to quality education.

At the showcase event in Colombo, the start-up founders shared their story with Dharmasri Kumaratunge, Secretary, Ministry of Technology, Government of Sri Lanka, who was the Guest of Honor for the event. Andrew Shinn, Economic Officer, US Embassy and Sachindra Samaratne, Associate Chief Digital Economy Officer, Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), also lent support to the initiative.

Commenting on the initiative, Hon’ble State Minister of Technology, Government of Sri Lanka, Kanaka Herath, said, “I want to applaud Uber for their outstanding efforts in recognizing startups in Sri Lanka. As a global technology leader that began as a startup themselves, Uber’s commitment to nurturing Sri Lankan innovation is truly commendable. I am also deeply grateful to the Government of Telangana for extending a special invitation to these startups to attend the Telangana Global AI Summit. This exposure to cutting-edge knowledge will be invaluable.Congratulations to the selected startups – KReader Pvt Ltd, ManKiwwa by Deegenics Pvt Ltd, and Megic Inc. I wish you the utmost success in maximizing the opportunities provided by the Government of Telangana and Uber.”

Speaking on the occasion, Varun Wijewardene, General Manager, Uber Delivery – Sri Lanka, said,  ”At Uber, we recognize the value of continued innovation and its potential to inspire positive change. Through this initiative, we want to provide Sri Lankan start-ups expert mentorship, guidance, and international exposure, that equips them to plan ahead and build a strong foundation for their ventures. We thank the Ministry of Technology for their partnership, and stand proud to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in the country.”

Sharing her views on the initiative, Kaushalya Gunaratne, Country Manager, Uber Mobility – Sri Lanka, said, “Uber has been at the forefront of innovation and has been leading by example for over a decade with several industry firsts to its name. Budding start-ups that have the hunger and drive to inspire change will benefit immensely from meeting Uber teams in India and hearing from them directly. We hope this will be a beginning to a thriving start-up ecosystem in Sri Lanka.”

Uber continues to stay committed to start-ups in Sri Lanka. The company hosted the Uber Entrepreneurship Challenge a couple of years ago. As Uber continues to expand its footprint in the country, initiatives like Uber Springboard serve as a testament to the company’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and empowering local talent.

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