A subtle but increasing movement of self-determined capitalism is transforming the way many people understand their place in the modern economy in cities and towns all around the world. Every day, entrepreneurs have become self-sufficient, relying on their skills and resourcefulness to launch their businesses. Their creative strategy is not just increasing economic prospects, but also enhancing community viability. Furthermore, as governments and others become more interested in the future of work, everyday entrepreneurs’ endeavours signify a shift in the future of workers who use the internet to generate cellular economic growth.
Entrepreneurs make such a profound impression on their markets that they impact the world at large. One such pioneering entrepreneur is Sudaraka Jayashanka; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tech Venturas. Strong-willed and driven by goals, he cemented his company in 2016 with a fanatical ordeal of over two decades in the IT industry. Sudaraka is a remarkable intellect with an outstanding ability to analyze and transform the digital world.
To begin his captivating escapade, Sudaraka, throughout his childhood, was quite riveted by the aspects of technology. Grateful to the comforts of the homely setting he grew up in, he had access to a computer and was able to teach himself how to program. However, it’s crucial to remember that this was before the internet, and only a few instructional resources were available. On the other hand, Inquisitiveness spurred him to learn everything he could about the technology available at the time. This incited him the confidence to acquire a full-time job as a junior programmer considering he began working as a freelance programmer early in his career, in 1999.
Prior to joining the IT services industry, Sudaraka worked in various industries, including apparel, manufacturing, and logistics, where he built innovative advancements in their corresponding IT divisions. This gave him a distinct upper hand in view of the fact that the domain-specific expertise he gained on numerous business elements in these industries is still beneficial to him today. While being distinct in the IT vertical, he moved through 2019 with significant IT firms both locally and at international standards. Moreover, he began his career as a Senior Engineer, leading technical teams, before progressing to positions as a Software Architect, Chief Architect, Chief Technology Officer and finally, Chief Executive Officer of Tech Venturas. He now leads the company’s technology department, additionally providing global leadership to Tech Venturas. The multi-talented entrepreneur is significantly content with his work as he deals with giant corporations and small businesses with innovative ideas that could change the world for the better. He emphasized, “Every single day when you realize that you’re part of something that made a difference in a person’s life through technology, it gives me sheer joy.”
Sudaraka recalls working as the Chief Technology Officer for an IT software services firm in Sri Lanka before starting Tech Venturas in 2016. He provided thought leadership, advisory, and consultancy services to various IT organizations and business sectors. He was able to rapidly empathize with their difficulties and propose excellent solutions due to these variables, saving them a lot of money. After establishing a reputation as an independent board adviser and technology consultant, he started his own consulting company. One may ponder where the name ‘Ventura’ came into play, and there’s quite a gratifying reason behind it. Ventura derives its name from Italian Origins translating to ‘Good Fortune’, thus Tech Venturas was established, seeing that Sudaraka yearned for his clients to have good fortune through technology.
Furthermore, as Sudaraka puts it, he ran Tech Venturas as a single-consultant firm until 2018, when he chose to leave his previous firm and devote his full attention to Tech Venturas. One of the main reasons for this was his realization that the software solutions his clients received from their vendors were of poor quality. As a result, he had to deal directly with these vendors to onboard them to the answers he had created for the businesses. He comments that he discovered that vendors failed to meet expectations in many cases due to a lack of technical experience and delivery methodology.
Innovation thrives when it has power and status within an organization, Sudaraka spotted an opportunity and hired a small team of highly competent engineers to develop simplified, yet sophisticated IT solutions for businesses. In addition, he brought years of knowledge and experience to Tech Venturas as “Practise Made From Lessons”, having witnessed nearly every type of software project failure. In this sense, he meticulously designed his organizational processors and technology solution frameworks to be impervious to these flaws. Currently, Tech Venturas works with entrepreneurs, and enterprises, ranging from tiny companies to large corporations such as banks, telecoms, government agencies, and not-for-profit groups to develop unique digital inclusion solutions.
Gaining insight into the changes in Sudaraka’s priorities forasmuch-as he initially started, he acknowledges that his total concentration was on the company’s technology and delivery procedure. This was because he needed to gain a competitive advantage seeing that the worldwide rivalry is fierce, emphasizing, “The chances of landing a “decent project” for a small startup such as mine are very thin unless you have something significant to offer.” We learn that Sudaraka’s initial goal was to design a collection of fittingly architected technology frameworks that could significantly speed up software development projects while maintaining excellent quality. As a result, he developed the organization’s delivery process to be transparent, allowing clients to observe and track the project’s development quickly. He also created an all-embracing governance structure for both technology and delivery, tying everything together and sealing the gap between technology, quality, and delivery. “I was delighted to see an “impressed nod” from new clients we pitched, every time we explained our technologies, delivery process and governance structure,” Sudaraka stated, adding that the brand was then able to apply this as an indicator to all their prospective projects.
Moving on, he began to concentrate more on the business aspect of things, mentioning that he was never a business student as all he had learnt was how to apply technology. However, Sudaraka’s interests have shifted dramatically in the last two years, as the company began to grow through acquiring new clients. As the company’s CEO, he had to learn everything from human resources to administration, corporate strategy, financial accounting, and sales and marketing to grasp better how to run it. He notes, “My daily routine involves working with all the non-technical departments as I start the day, while I still work longer periods of the day with my technical teams.”
Starting a business is not easy, and scaling it is even more challenging. But the most potent fuel is a personal connection to what one is doing. Sudaraka believes that the first challenge any entrepreneur faces at the start of their journey is uncertainty. When someone decides to leave a well-paying profession, they may end up investing their entire savings in starting something new, which may or may not be successful, and is a significant risk. The main challenge is to determine how long one could go without landing the first adequate customer account to pay the expenses piling up such as wages, equipment, office premises etc.
Sudaraka emphasizes that having superior technical solutions is futile if customers are unaware of them. As a result, it is critical to discuss what one’s company has been up to and make it visible to the technical community, even if it is small. Having a marketing budget, no matter how limited, is reproving in the early stages. He used several free tools to develop a self-thought marketing strategy for his business. He was able to land the first project, which subsequently paid for the remainder of the party, even though it was an improbable success. He also had to deal with cash flow management. Effective cash flow management, in his opinion, is a discipline that every entrepreneur should understand since it entails daily evaluation, planning, and regular course adjustments, all of which provide a unique solution to the vital challenge of uncertainty.
Talent recruiting, management, and retention were also significant challenges. According to Sudaraka, it is critical to assemble a team that shares one’s vision for the organization. He articulated, “As a startup, with the limited recruitment budget you have, you’re betting on the best resources you can acquire. You can decide to hire a bigger team with mediocre skills or a fairly small team with expert capabilities. The latter is the hardest as good people look for a workplace that embraces their freedom of technology while expecting a higher remuneration. As the company’s founder, the strategy I followed was to build a technology-driven culture and showcase it everywhere possible. Being a CEO with hands-on experience with the latest technologies allowed me to build trust and a great amount of respect within all company’s technical departments. This led the existing team members to recommend and introduce like-minded, skilful employees. As a result, we maintain a very high retention rate within the company, which allows us to be who we are today.”
The tech startup landscape has gotten so competitive, that you see businesses launch every day that are nearly identical. Whether your startup offers products or services, the specialization you bring to the table is what matters. With this notion, what sets Tech Venturas apart? Following Sudaraka, Tech Venturas is focused on developing solutions for those communities in non-digitally inclusive economies worldwide. People in these social-economic structures face inequity; thus, there is a pressing need to solve this and provide equality through digital solutions. The BFSI and telecommunications industries are beginning to see this burgeoning segment’s unrealized potential and actively deliver solutions. However, due to the Covid-19 issues, there is a growth in demand for digital solutions, even for routine day-to-day chores, all over the world. With the aspirations to become a category leader in developing solutions for digitally inclusive economies, Tech Venturas is on an ambitious journey by expanding its operations to Kenya and Australia with new offices.
In start-ups, there’s an essential, intangible quality—energy, a spirit. It galvanizes anticipation and develops a sense of deep connection and shared purpose. As long as this mentality exists, engagement is high, and businesses maintain their competitive advantage. As a result, when he first started, the challenge of building a tech company from the ground up with better technological capabilities, uniformity, and openness in the delivery process was his favourite aspect. Years of experience in the sector, working with hundreds of startups and large corporations, provided him with the necessary basis to develop a company with all the requisite ingredients. Sudaraka derives satisfaction in the fact that he is creating a technology-driven culture within the company that encourages his employees to develop and think beyond the box, adding, “ I also enjoy the freedom it brings you to become your own boss. It allows me to constantly challenge myself and improve every day and inspire my team as a leader.”
“It has only been 4 years since my business adventure, and I’m not an expert in entrepreneurship,” Sudaraka humbly expresses when asked for his motivating advice to someone who is striving to become an entrepreneur. He added, “But, I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience by becoming an entrepreneur. Social media nowadays has made hype on entrepreneurship, which is a great thing. But, I also see a downside of it, as it creates misconceptions around entrepreneurship, treating it as just another skill that you can learn in a week. In my opinion, being an entrepreneur is all about passion, commitment and consistency. You, as an entrepreneur, should be the strongest ambassador of the propositions of your business. You should be consistent and resilient for everything coming your way. You should constantly be thinking about how your passion can be depicted as a specialization and make your business stand out in the competition.”
Protecting the organization’s essence is an important, albeit underappreciated, element of the founding cohort’s role, on par with essential decision-making areas like governance. Netflix, Nike, and Starbucks all grew from humble beginnings thanks to their founders’ purposeful attempts to preserve the alchemy that made them exceptional businesses from the start. Over the long term, a strong soul like Sudaraka will draw in and fire up various stakeholders. Even as Tech Venturas institutes processes, discipline, etc., he will strive to retain the spiritual trinity of business intent, customer connection, and employee experience. It’s the secret to not only growth but also greatness. Sudaraka ends his account with a remarkable statement, “As an entrepreneur, you define your business every step of the way, in every single aspect. How your business faces challenges and seize opportunities are a complete reflection of who you are as a leader. As an entrepreneur, the success mindset should always trickle down from you to the rest of your business.”