Kanishka Weeramunda Awarded the CSSL Best Founder of the Year

By Mazin Hussain | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 23 2021
Tech Talk Kanishka Weeramunda Awarded the CSSL Best Founder of the Year

By Mazin Hussain

Recognising his efforts as an entrepreneur and commitment to strengthen the Sri Lankan tech startup ecosystem, Founder and CEO of PayMedia and DirectPay, Kanishka Weeramunda, was awarded the CSSL Best Founder of the Year 2020. While the founder of the award-winning fintech startup, he’s also the Co-Founder of other successful ventures such as SquareHub and ThingerBits. A firm believer in the power of entrepreneurship to build a better nation, he’s also been a driver of several initiatives to develop the Sri Lankan entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

The prestigious award was presented to Kanishka Weeramunda by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Namal Rajapaksa at the CSSL National ICT Awards 2020, which recognises exceptional individuals for their contribution to the ICT industry in Sri Lanka.

Prior to founding PayMedia, Kanishka was the Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Laugfs Holdings. At the time, he was one of the youngest CIOs in Sri Lanka. But Kanishka was an entrepreneur at heart, and in 2014, he tendered his resignation. Thus, PayMedia was born, which was his fourth startup venture. From his past startup ventures, he had learned crucial lessons and was armed with the experience, connections, and capital necessary for his new venture to succeed.

PayMedia ventured into the banking and financial sector, determined to help it seize the opportunities of the Financial Technology revolution. The company began by offering Cash Deposit Machines to banks and rapidly expanded its portfolio of products to encompass a range of banking solutions. Then, recognising the growing popularity of digital payments, the company spun off a subsidiary called DirectPay, which has its vast array of products ranging from LankaQR, JustPay, IPGs to POS terminals to dedicated payment apps enabling businesses to accept cashless payments.

While developing these products, the company collaborated with private and public stakeholders to help shape the regulatory landscape to facilitate fintech solutions in Sri Lanka. Describing the company’s growth, Kanishka said, “PayMedia has grown from a successful startup into an industry leader in the fintech industry. Our products are utilised by renowned local companies such as Sampath Bank, Amana Bank, AIA Insurance, Ceylico Life Insurance, Cargill’s Bank, Central Finance and National Savings Bank and People’s Bank.”

Kanishka is also committed to help aspiring entrepreneurs and strengthen the local startup ecosystem.  One such initiative he launched in line with this vision is a startup incubator called SquareHub. It’s since become one of the leading incubators in the country, working with the UNDP, UN Women, and local universities on several initiatives to promote entrepreneurship across the island. At the same time, Kanishka also serves as a visiting lecturer at several Private and State universities. In his capacity as a senior lecturer, he teaches students about entrepreneurship and innovation.

Beyond these efforts, Kanishka has also served in various capacities to assist several initiatives to help strengthen the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. Among these roles is being the Co-Founder of Disrupt Asia, which has grown into the premier startup conference and showcase in Sri Lanka. He also played a pivotal role in developing Startup SL, the online directory of Sri Lankan startups. While also representing Sri Lanka at international startup forums, Kanishka also serves as community leader of Techstars Startup Weekend in Sri Lanka.

For his success as an entrepreneur and commitment to strengthen the local startup ecosystem, Kanishka has been recognised with several awards. The list of accolades includes Most Valuable ICT Entrepreneur of the Year at NBQSA 2015, Best CEO of the year and Best Future Leader of the year at CMI Management Excellence 2017, and ICT Entrepreneur of the Year at NBQSA 2018, to name a few.

By Mazin Hussain | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 23 2021

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