EXPLORING THE FUTURE

0
380

Suveen Ellawela is an enthusiast in blockchain, AI and startup. He is also the Co-Founder of Mintyard, a startup that aims to develop new technology for Web 3.0. Passionate about IT and developing world class tech products, Teen Inc wanted to learn more about his story, as well as his aspirations for the future.

School and beyond

“I did my A Levels back in 2020, at Royal College, Colombo, and came forth in the District, and placed 12th in the country. Back in school, I also played a lot of chess. I am among the top 150 players in the country. Other than that, I also enjoyed participating in quizzing. I was part of the school team that participated in the first season of Sirasa Pentathlon, and won the Best Pentathlete award that night as well. I also was a school Senior Prefect.”

It’s evident that Suveen has had a very eventful school career, but his journey didn’t stop there.

“After completing school I started learning about programming and machine learning. I also participated in a number of school hackathons and ideathons.”

He is also currently planning to pursue his higher education at the Moratuwa University. “We haven’t had the selection exam yet, but I’m planning to focus on Computer Science Engineering or Electronics Engineering,” he revealed.

Building his own path

Although IT wasn’t Suveen’s initial interest, it was the most effective step towards realising his dream of paving his own path and being someone who leads rather than follows.

“I wanted to start my own thing, and what I learnt was the best way to start was through technology, including programming,” he shared. “That way I could build a product, gain some attention and attract investors, and move forward.”  Suveen’s drive to follow his own path led him to gain knowledge in programming, which played a significant part in mapping the entire course of his career until today. But this too wasn’t something he had in mind during his school years.

“I just focused on studying and didn’t really think too hard about that, even during my A-level years,” he shared. “I played chess at school and concentrated on other extra-curricular activities. It was after my A-levels that this all began. I didn’t really like to work under someone. I just wanted to be my own boss, coming up with ideas and building new products.”

Bera Tiles

One such attempt at developing a full-fledged product was Bera Tiles, an app that enables people to experience traditional drums of Sri Lanka from a convenient and easy app.

“It was an idea that I’ve had for some time, and something two friends and I made for a hackathon we participated in.”

“There could be kids who have never seen traditional Sri Lankan drums in their life, and with the younger generation getting fewer opportunities to experience parts of our culture, I wanted to make those Sri Lankan cultural drums more accessible in this digital world.”

Bera Tiles won Suveen and his friends the awards, which gave them a cash prize and were directed to an incubation process where the app became a fully available tool for mobile download. Suveen and the team had a lot of ideas for Bera Tiles, including a plan for monetisation and a Piano Tiles style game to engage with as well. Collaborating with various musicians as well was an idea the team also attempted.

“Sadly, we weren’t able to monetise Bera Tiles. Unfortunately, we had to give it up,” Suveen revealed. “Monetising something in Sri Lanka is pretty hard, and we had to move on to other things.”

Mintyard

One of the subsequent projects that Suveen embarked on was Mintyard, a result of Suveen seeing opportunity in Web 3.0 and blockchain technology.

“I noticed that in Sri Lanka, we have a lot of IT companies that provide services, but there aren’t a lot of product based companies that have gone into the global market,” Suveen shared. “I feel like these years are very similar to the 1996-1997 years in the ‘dotcom era,’ and I just wanted to get on the wave and try to build something regarding blockchain.”

Aiming to gain the ‘early bird’ advantage. “If we could build something before the majority comes in, I saw an opportunity,” he added.

Mintyard is the result of meticulous research and searching for problems that Suveen could solve using blockchain technology. Focusing on NFT collection in games, Mintyard recently became part of Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, which is proof that their ideas and technology has potential global value.

“At Mintyard, we help brands, artists and companies with NFT collections to make more impact through games. We provide gaming arenas of their own, and they can let their NFT holders to come to their particular website, play games and earn rewards.”

Seeking opportunity through social media

But that isn’t all that Suveen has been upto. Active on many social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, Suveen’s work was noticed by

“I understood that being active on LinkedIn and making connections would be very important, being in a not so startup friendly country like Sri Lanka. I used to send connect requests to a number of founders in the country, including one to Heshanka Fernando, Co-Founder and CEO of oDoc.”

Recognising Suveen’s talent, Heshanka was quick to hire Suveen, who gained valuable experience. “I got to intimately understand almost every process of a startup there,” Suveen said. “A lot of credit has to go to Heshanka and oDoc, for all I learnt. It has been a huge part of my life.”

But that’s not the only social media project that Suveen has been involved in. He also operates the social media page Pettah Rocket on Facebook and Instagram as a way to help people develop soft skills and leadership competencies.

Taking the leap

Suveen’s story is an example of a life that doesn’t hesitate in grabbing hold of opportunity, and an inspirational one for many other youths to emulate. With the country in a dire situation, now is the time for talented and skilled youth to use their abilities to discover new opportunity, and lead a new generation forward.

“I remember this quote I came across which said, ‘the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risks.’ If you’re young enough and have a good idea, you should definitely try it without leaving it in your notebook. It might fail, but those failures can give some very valuable lessons. If you’re entrepreneurial minded, you will definitely find opportunity out there.”

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage