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Disrupt Asia 2019 returns with new focus on augmented living

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From left: Crowdisland CEO Chalinda Abyekoon, ICTA Senior Consultant Indika De Zoysa, ICTA Chairman Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Hatch CEO Randhula De Silva, ICTA Project Manager Nevindaree Premarathne, ICTA Program Head Sachindra Samararatne – Pic by Upul Abayasekara 


  • 4th consecutive year of helping startups connect, learn and celebrate

By Divya Thotawatte

Themed ‘Augmented Living,’ the Disrupt Asia 2019 conference organised by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), is to be held on 12 October, creating a platform for startups to exhibit their innovations on a global scale.

According to the organisers, the theme ‘Augmented Living’ will focus on contributing to heighten the successes of innovation and technology towards supporting human lifestyles and its ability to make a real and lasting contribution to development. 

The conference and festival will also provide a platform for startups to network with its investors, gain actionable advice, insights into startup strategy and the possibilities of global expansion, helping drive an era of tech innovation for Sri Lanka. 

ICTA Chairman Rohan Samarajiva said: “Disrupt Asia means we have ambitions bigger than Asia. It has been from the beginning conceptualised as an international activity. When you’re doing an event with the word ‘disruption’ in it, the challenge is how to make changes every year. This is the fourth year that we’re having this event and those of you who have followed it can see that we have made changes. The World Innovation Festival was introduced for the first time last year, and the locations, themes and organisations all had been changed this year. But then we have to ask if we’re promising what we deliver.”

“It is important for our startup community to start thinking beyond this country. Do not feel limited to this particular market. I think that is one of the things that we try to do with Disrupt Asia. If anyone asks how effective it has been, there are startups influenced by Disrupt Asia, who have started here and now are active in Bangladesh and those who are dealing with innovation, financing and investment community in India etc.,” he explained. 

The conference will feature keynotes by renowned startup personalities in Asia Casie Lau and Amarit Charoenphan. Moreover, five interactive panel discussions will facilitate meaningful dialogues on how disruptive technologies are affecting and supporting the quality of lifestyles of citizens in relation to leisure, economic growth, and sustainable living. 

The first panel discussion ‘Travel Tech: Travel Smart’ will focus on technologies related to travel and leisure sector while the second discussion on ‘Platforms Disrupting Asia’ will focus on ways technology has enhanced lifestyles through greater convenience, supporting businesses and generating economic growth. 

‘Shaping Cities through Innovation’ will pay attention to ways of using technology efficiently to improve the quality of life in a sustainable manner and on the topic of ‘R’, panellists will discuss the use of technology related to virtual reality and augmented reality in supporting human senses to benefit and experience higher levels of engagement. 

The last panel discussion ‘Go Global: Strategies for Emerging Market’ will provide advice for startups on accelerating their business towards global expansion.  This year’s conference anticipates over 1,000 attendees who would be able to learn through knowledge sharing, taking back actionable best practices, and other valuable insights inspiring creativity and strategic growth. 

Disrupt Asia will provide access to valuable and powerful startup expertise from organisations such as RISE, Techstars, Seedstars, AngelHack, Cityzone and STARTUPRIGHT. Local startups will be able to meet the said organisations to explore the forging of strategic partnerships, possibility of receiving investment or gain tactical advice. 

ICTA Industry Development Program Head Sachindra Samararatne said that tickets would be available for purchase for Rs. 4,000 while a 50% discount would be provided for university students interested in participating at the event. 

Disrupt Asia 2019 is endorsed by the Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is the Innovation Partner while the Gold partner is Visa. 

Crowdisland, DirectPay and Hatch are ecosystem partners and Cinnamon Hotels and Walkers Tours are the Hospitality and Travel Partners. The Volunteer Partner is Gudppl and Startup Accelerator by PWC SL, STARTUPRIGHT and AngelHack are the Knowledge Partners. 

Dialog Television and Dialog are respectively Pay TV and Broadband Partners while Ath Pavura and CITRA are the Social Innovation Partners. Bhasha Lanka is the Mobile Solutions Partner while PayHere is the Payment Partner for the event. 

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