I’ve talked about rural businesses for a while, but there are a ton of good businesses in Colombo. I’m personally very interested in the Internet variety. These are a few people doing work online. These are basically the ones I know. I’m not saying use them or don’t use them, but they’re new, geeky ventures and I do support them. I know almost all the people involved personally but I’m not getting paid in any way for this.
LBO (Lanka Business Online)
This is probably the highest quality news source online, though it is a particular niche. It’s not too hard business and it does cover general stuff, but there is an economic focus. I dig the Thrift column and my dad’s Choices column. LBO is also full of multiple, flashing seizure inducing ads and I think that it is one of the few online ventures that is profitable. It is, of course, cross-promoted and supported by a sister TV show.
The Daily Mirror is the most visible and serious of the newspapers online. It also takes an aggressive interest in advertising (including houses) making it, I think, very profitable. I don’t read it too much because most of the story links turn out to be, effectively, Twitter posts but they are doing cool stuff like video interviews and polls and stuff.
This is an Open Source ‘SOA’ company run by Sanjiva Weerawarana, formerly of IBM I believe. SOA is apparently Service-Oriented Architecture, some geeky business stuff. All I know is that it’s somehow linked with the Apache software that runs this and every website I’ve ever worked on. This business is cool in that they make a product which they basically give away free and make money through support and consulting.
This is a new venture launched by some friends of mine. There is a huge demand for an online classifieds space in Sri Lanka. I for example am looking for an old iPod shuffle. These guys have set up something to address that need. Personally, I’m not crazy about the interface, but in these things the interface doesn’t matter much. People will use whatever system once it reaches a critical mass. Anything.lk hasn’t reached that mass yet, but they still have listings for most categories. They are also promoting the thing in meatspace and I think they have a shot. I wish them luck.
Vesess is a web design company that I’ve worked with extensively. They produce web standards stuff, which is actually incredibly rare among Sri Lankan web designers. They basically subscribe to the global geek ethos, whereas most designers are stuck in the Flash banners and loading pages of 1995. I’ve worked with them to produce everything from the database-driven dialog.lk site (including months of strategy and reorganization) as well as small sites for photographers and small business.
They’ve also recently launched their own web application called CurdBee (for freelancers to manage invoices) which already has a bunch of users, some paying. They do good, international quality work and I recommend them for web design.
And that’s all the Sri Lankan online businesses I know off the top of my head. Tell me if you know any more.