Virtusa and SLASSCOM nurture next generation of tech-entrepreneurs

Team HoneyJade’s App ThirdEar bags grand prize at VirtusaX 2014

Vimukthi Weerasiri and Dinal Kurukulasooriya of team HoneyJade wowed a panel of industry titans with their life saving app ThirdEar to bag the grand prize at VirtusaX2014 – Virtusa SLASSCOM Startup Hack. Virtusa and SLASSCOM created VirtusaX 2014 – a unique event that tested teams for both their tech skills and entrepreneurial spirit – in a bid to provide a launch pad for innovation in the country’s ICT sector.

“We are delighted to see our app ThirdEar being chosen for the grand prize at VirtusaX 2014” said an ecstatic Vimukthi Weerasiri and Dinal Kurukulasooriya, both being students of the University of Moratuwa. “Allowing us to interact with industry veterans as well as likeminded young coders, the entire two week exercise has been a great learning experience. It has broadened of our thought process, nudging us to look beyond the tech side of things to create products and solutions that have the potential to take the market by storm” Monitoring ambient noises for the sound of vehicle horns, ThirdEar alerts users by pausing the music that they are listening to every time it detects the presence of a vehicle advancing towards them using a unique algorithm. Taking just a few milliseconds for the entire process, the app aims to prevent accidents and save lives lost on the road. “Seeing the unlimited possibilities ThirdEar brings with it, we’re in the process of securing patents in Sri Lanka and other markets as well” they added.

“With the growing adoption of smartphones and emergence of extremely cost effective cloud, social and big data platforms, our ability to create and deliver services to a wider global audience is becoming increasingly democratized. I believe we are truly at an inflation point of a big new wave of technology driven wealth creation in the country. I was very excited to see the quality of the ideas and speed with which they got realized at VirtusaX 2014. Our vision is to help accelerate this process of innovation and entrepreneurship by creating the VitusaX open innovation platform” said Madu Ratnayake, head of digital and senior vice president / general manager at Virtusa. “Wishing Vimukthi and Dinal the very best for all their future endeavors, I look forward to seeing them continue to innovate and grow into a successful enterprise.”

“I would like to congratulate Vimukthi and Dinal on bagging the grand prize at VirtusaX 2014 for their life saving app, ThirdEar. I believe that the 20 participant teams offer a glimpse of the untapped potential in Sri Lanka’s youth. Identifying and nurturing such talent from around the island, events like VirtusaX 2014 will go a long way in helping realize our IT / BPM industry’s vision to achieve USD 5 billion in exports by 2022 while generating 200,000 jobs and creating 1,000 start-ups in this process” said Jayantha De Silva, Chairman, SLASSCOM.

Having been kicked off with a 24 hour coding marathon where 20 teams created innovative mobile applications, the event saw the teams fine tune their ideas with inputs from the panelists over the past few days before presenting them again to the panel for re-evaluation. The panelists included Amal Sanderatne – Founder and CEO, Frontier Research; Chamindra De Silva – Director and Head of Strategic Initiatives, Virtusa; Hariharan Padmanaban – Director Business Development, H-Connect (Pvt) Ltd; Madhawa Madawala – Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer, Derana TV; Madu Ratnayake, Head of Digital and Senior Vice President / General Manager, Virtusa; Rohan Jayaweera – Country Consultant – Sri Lanka & Maldives at Google Inc. and Thushera Kaudawatte – Senior Director of Technology and Chief Software Architect, Virtusa. Working closely with team Honey Jade, Virtusa and SLASSCOM will help them reach out to investors and mentors, facilitating the evolution of their app into a successful business venture. The event received wide spread support with from the industry with A&R Holdings, Barista Lavazza, Dialog, Derana, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka (FCCISL), Google, HappySriLankans, LG, Lanka Angel Network, Learn TV, and coming onboard as partners.

Photo caption: VirtusaX2014 grand prize winners Vimukthi Weerasiri and Dinal Kurukulasooriya (third and fourth from left respectively)

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