Young Lankan entrepreneur sells his US-based IT company to Google

‘Scoopler’ was a threat and that’s why they bought me out


By Steve A. Morrell

A young Sri Lankan who floated his own IT Company in USA and later sold it to Google says that he is now actively pursuing developing a wearable device that could give blood pressure details and most other information on body functions.

"I am working on it now – a contraption that’s unobtrusive and runs on a battery which need not be replaced. It is a wearable device for a lifetime", Dilan Jayawardane said.

"I relocated to the US; Silicon Valley, in San Jose. I developed a product that could have information transmitted globally within seconds. This was not current at that time. I agree, Google and Yahoo too give out information, but ‘Scoopler’ was faster. As I said, the world knew what was happening within seconds of the event", he recalled.

"I assume Google would have seen ‘Scoopler’ as a threat and that’s why they bought me out. I cannot disclose the purchase price, but interestingly, they employed me. That was a big plus because I gained from the Google experience. I am now working on a different product", he said in an interview with The Sunday Island during a brief visit to Sri Lanka recently.

Jayawardena was educated at Nalanda College, Colombo, won an MIT scholarship, moved to the US in 2002 and graduated in computer science and engineering. ‘Oracle’ invited him in, but later he quit to start his own company. He is a young man bubbling with ideas and is already in the ‘super entrepreneur’ level who will shortly form another company of his own and go public.

Q: Were there any glitches in floating a public company? Red tape?

No, I did not face such problems. In the US, people are encouraged to start businesses. Wherever my roots were is of no consequence. They look at people who could contribute through personal innovation and zeal and come up with something new, as valuable and everybody supports you.

Just to give you an inkling of what I did and its impact, I was interviewed on CNN, BBC, Good Morning America and Good Morning Australia. These were all prime-time exposure. They invited me to participate in their shows, and the eventual feedback was that audience reaction to such exposure was outstanding. This was what I was told.

To put matters in perspective, after graduation, I joined Oracle. Yes you could say I gained added experience. I would call it adding value to what I knew. After some time, I quit Oracle to form ‘Scoopler’, my own company.

In the US, documentation and so on takes some time. I moved to the UK, which was far more conducive to form a new company. And ‘Scoopler’ came into being.

Q: Have you thought in terms of any entrepreneurial activity in Sri Lanka?

No, because the climate for investment is not right just yet. That is my view. I may be wrong, but that is what I think.

Q: You said you would go public floating your company. Do you foresee any risks or problems?

No, it is easy really. You can start a private company with just one dollar. Going public, however, will need some financial stability, but I will have no problems. I have some benchmark funds and could raise more funds on the stock exchange.

Q: Has the US recovered from the 2008 recession?

Very positively, yes. The economy would continue to strengthen. They have to look after themselves and sort out their own problems. Nobody else comes to their rescue.

Q: ‘What are your views of the Sri Lanka economy and the possibility of more investment in future?

Sri Lanka is well placed geographically. Its potential is substantial, but communication in English is crucial.

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