:Different Technologies, one of Australia’s hottest new global startups, has once again changed the corporate landscape in Sri Lanka. Starting January 2021, the company is offering all permanent employees equity in the firm, which is backed by Australia’s largest VC firm AirTree Ventures, and Silicon Valley’s Foundation Capital. The company is taking this decisive step because it believes that investing in its employees and ensuring their stability and security is not only the right thing to do, but also a smart business decision.
“Particularly in the uncertain economic climate that has arisen in the aftermath of COVID-19, we want our employees to think like owners,” said Co-founder of :Different, Ruwin Perera, a former Director at Softbank. “We have built our company around people, and we want those people with us for the long run. Offering all our employees equity in our firm is a chance for us to let them grow with us, just like our investors. You can tell a lot about a company by where it focuses its resources and in our case we believe that investing in our employees will pay dividends in the long run. Ultimately, we’re building this company together and rather than simply paying lip service to this idea; we wanted to take action!”
“:Different has always been a great company to work for, but the new equity offer is just straight up amazing,” said Deegha Galkissa, a member of the engineering team at :Different’s Colombo office. “Feeling that you’re a part of a team is nice but knowing that you’re a part-owner of the company you work for is something else entirely.”
This sentiment was also echoed by Mark Sinnathamby, another member of the engineering team. “Giving equity to all employees is not something you see every day in Sri Lanka and I’m just proud to be a part of the company that has made it happen. Coming into work definitely feels different, now that I’m a shareholder in my company!”
:Different’s VP of Engineering, Hasitha Liyanage is no stranger to start-ups that eventually became big names in Sri Lanka, like MIT, Sysco Labs. Liyange spoke more on the rationale behind sharing equity and how it is also a personal decision for him, “I wish someone had offered this to me when I was a Junior Developer! It cannot be overstated, the best way to encourage employees to think and act like owners is to actually make them owners!”
:Different’s Country HR Business Partner, Kalpika Abayasekera explained that all current staff are automatically enrolled in this scheme, with a specific up-front entitlement to the equity on offer, “We felt it was absolutely necessary to reward the team that has been through the growing pains of a start-up. These shares are issued on a four-year maturity which also encourages the team to see their tenure as quite literally a long-term investment.”
“We are following the same format adopted in Silicon Valley and in our Australian office, and thought it was about time that our Sri Lankan crew reap the same benefits as their counterparts abroad,” said Perera
:Different recently reaffirmed its commitment to Sri Lanka by doubling its stake in the country through a multi-million dollar investment in its Colombo office. This move strengthens the regional office by adding senior personnel and moving key operational functions, including real-time customer management, customer experience, maintenance and supplier relationships to Sri Lanka.
“The increased investment into the Colombo office, coupled with our new equity offer to employees underlines :Different’s commitment to harnessing the best minds in Sri Lanka to build a world-class technology company that places Sri Lanka very firmly on the world tech map”, said Perera.
Perera is confident that this new move will further strengthen :Different’s position as one of the most employee-friendly startups to work for in Sri Lanka. “Recruiting and retaining the very best may be the most important part of building a company that will be resilient through the uncertain times that await us over the next decade, and this is doubly important as world economies recover from COVID-19. Our hope is that this move will encourage other companies to start seeing their employees as long-term investments, because that’s exactly what they are to us!”
HNB promotes cashless transactions; joins CBSL’s ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign
Chief Guest for the event Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, CBSL Deputy Governor and National Payments Council chairperson Yvette Fernando, and CBSL Payments and Settlements Director D. Kumaratunge with HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo as he completes a transaction via HNB SOLO at a merchant stall
HNB PLC, partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to promote the Colombo-leg of ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign at Diyatha Uyana, to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.
Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.
“We are entering a new era of financial technology, where almost all of our daily transactions will require no physical banknotes, but just a smartphone and internet connection with our bank account integrated to a digital payment app.
The Central Bank’s national directive for banks and financial institutions to adopt and integrate LANKA QR into their existing digital payment solutions has prompted an aggressive onboarding of merchants to the new payment solution across the country. With our extensive customer base, SOLO is no doubt a significant contributor to this innovative initiative,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
The Colombo-leg of the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign raised awareness regarding SOLO’s many facilities, including zero human interaction, efficiency, and eliminated risks that influenced many vendors to come on board.
Sri Lanka Insurance posts a staggering revenue of Rs. 55.2 billion during 2020
Amidst the turbulent and challenging year Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations.
Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019, a press release said.
It adds – In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.2 billion whilst general insurance reported 7% growth in premium grew to Rs. 20.1 billion. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 17 % during the year. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.
‘In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka Insurance in 2020 surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.2 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 10 years tops a massive Rs.54 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.
‘As the national insurer we have witnessed yet another challenging year and the consequences brought out by pandemic outbreak urged us to conduct our business operations in a more empathetic manner. SLIC has always taken the lead to protect the nation and during this difficult time Sri Lanka Insurance launched many initiatives to sustain country’s health defenses while ensuring our customers receive uninterrupted insurance service.
‘As the pioneering insurance company in Sri Lanka we are in the forefront to inculcate the importance of insurance to the masses as a national responsibility on our shoulders. We will further strengthen internal capabilities to serve the nation through innovative and affordable insurance solutions which cater to all Sri Lankans under the ‘Insurance for All” concept. Even though the times are defining we will continue protecting our nation turning obstacles into opportunities.’ noted .Jagath Wellawatta, chairman of SLIC.
Bank of Ceylon empowering nation with Lanka Q
The Bank of Ceylon in its mission to assist the government initiative to empower Sri Lanka through digital technology is joining the customer awareness campaign of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Lanka QR digital platform.
Bank of Ceylon had its most recent major awareness programs in Borella and Maharagama along with the other branches in Colombo District in line with the Central Bank’s main program held in “Diyatha Uyana” with the participation of all Lanka QR certified banks on the same day.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has organized a series of awareness and promotion campaigns for popularizing Lanka QR with the participation of all Lanka QR certified financial institutions throughout the country with the aim of speeding up the customer adaptation process towards digital banking.
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