Lahiru Pathmalal has a BA in Political Science, and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Queensland. He has worked in United States, Afghanistan and Australia in child care. And has also worked as the Program Coordinator at the International Center for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka. So What led this Political Science graduate to start an e-commerce venture in Sri Lanka? Let us find out!
“My parents were both entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, so I always had this entrepreneurial streak in me,” But Takas.lk emerged out of a personal need for Lahiru. “While shopping for a TV, I realized there was no site in Sri Lanka that catered to individuals looking to buy genuine electronics products, or even to do any research before buying. So I thought if I was looking for something online, may be other people are too. Thus the idea was born to create an online electronics mall.” Takas was started 6 months ago with backing from Lankan Angel Network.
Traction thus far
Takas has more than 3,000 products on offer. We are perhaps one of the few e-commerce sites in Sri Lanka that does not have a physical retail space. We work on a marketplace model and currently with more than 40 authorized agents. Customers can come to our website and place an order, once an order is confirmed, it is delivered to the customer. We complete all orders between 1 and 3 days. We offer customers both cash on delivery and credit card payment options. We were the first Sri Lankan company to offer cash on delivery and free delivery for customers.
In 6 months of operation we've received more than 100,000 visitors. Our revenue growth is 671% and traction growth is 800%+. The number of unique visitors has grown by 600%+ and now more than 60% of our traffic is generated organically. We see local retail stores as competition.
We get a dealer margin for each product sold at takas.lk
We raised a small seed round from the Lankan Angel Network and Indian Angel Network. We have raised seed capital to validate the market need. Now that we are confident that Takas has huge potential, we are seeking to raise another USD 600K. We are talking to existing investors and new investors for the same. We are a team of 5 people currently, we would need more capital to expand operations to other geographies and product lines, however we will continue to operate as a lean team.
Raising Capital at an Idea stage
Our biggest challenge was convincing investors to give us some seed money based on an idea. And we did this by putting a team together which convinced our investors that the job can be done.
5 year plan
Our objective is to have (Sri Lankan)Rs 1 billion in sales in the next 5 years. We will do this by introducing new product lines, acquiring new customers and using technology to be cutting edge.
E-commerce is just beginning to penetrate in Sri Lanka, and it is heartening to see entrepreneurs like Lahiru making commerce and choice accessible for millions of people in Lanka. We wish Lahiru and his team all the best. Stay tuned as we bring more news from Takas as they scale.
Though the geographies are varied, there is immense amount of learnings Sri Lankan entrepreneurs can take-away from the Indian e-commerce stories and vice-versa.
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