Dulith Herath of Kapruka.com bags top Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneur Award

Sri Lanka’s visionary entrepreneur Dulith Herath and founder of the much celebrated Kapruka.com online store was recently conferred top honours at the highly respected Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) by bagging the coveted young entrepreneur award.

Commanding unparalleled success in the field of e-commerce, Herath introduced Sri Lanka to the online shopping concept exactly ten years ago when he launched kapruka.com which is to date Sri Lanka’s largest online store and is a well known brand both in Sri Lanka as well as among the expatriate Sri Lankan community residing abroad.

Speaking on his recent achievement, a very modest Herath, was quick to dedicate his APEA Award to his very talented and dedicated pool of over 200 employees who work with him. "A spirited team is the reason for our success," says a very unassuming Herath who heads the billions making Kapruka.com (Pvt) Ltd.

APEA is a premier regional recognition for outstanding entrepreneurs across Asia, showcasing new-age ideators to the rest of the world. It brings the crème of Asian talent together, offering entrepreneurs a great platform for networking and to forge new alliances. The awards are presented in 12 countries throughout Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia,Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 36 year old Herath who is both founder and chairman of Kapruka,is also a proud work addict, who understands the importance of maintaining a friendly working culture for the benefit of his employees while most importantly ensuring customer is always king. "I attribute the success I have witnessed today to my addiction to work. I am so addicted to work; my wife has put up a time table which compels me to take breaks during the week. If I fail to take a break during a particular day, she pushes forward the day till I comply with her demand," he says laughing. Herath’s day typically starts at 8:00am in the morning and goes on till as late as 4 a.m.

Herath stresses that when he rewards an employee he doesn’t do it expecting something in return but do it intentionallysimply because he enjoys the ‘delight’ he sees in their faces. "Even when I decide to gift a car to one of my managers, I don’t do it expecting anything in return. I do it because I enjoy seeing his face light up with happiness and also the faces of his family when he takes it home," he said, adding this was another reason for his company’s success.

He stressed that building a billion rupee company from scratch is one thing, but building a team that looks forward to coming to work every morning with a smile is another thing.

"Everyone in my company is so dedicated, they voluntarily work extra hours and they are so committed. It is amazing to have such a fabulous team and everyone is so happy to work there, which adds to the productivity of Kapruka," Herath added.

Herath and his team also understand the importance of the ‘customer is king’ concept which is hardly practiced in Sri Lanka. "Even when someone calls and shouts at us, we take it very constructively, we look into their needs and ensure their issue is taken care of immediately, this has led to some customers even being our advocators," he said.

"We are seriously addicted towards making the customer not only happy, but DELIGHTED," he emphasized.

Known to be a geek from his schools days at Royal College, Herath was always an innovator and from his early days he started trying his hand on various electronic projects including building an interactive robot at age of 8.

Armed with extensive experience gathered from working at Microsoft and Dell as a software architect while living in the US, Herath says even though Sri Lankans were new to the online shopping concept here, it was a very successful venture in the US back then which was what led him to open Kapruka as early as in February 2002.

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