Help.lk to advance to finals of Entrepreneurial World Cup
Harsha Abeygunesekera is a medical dropout who’s building impactful businesses online. He has been in the startup space since 2017. One fun fact about himself that he shared is that he tends to be a bit of a “freak” when it comes to efficiency.
Suresh Michael; a tech geek with a self-driven attitude toward cutting-edge technologies, works together with Abeygunesekera’s on their brand Help.lk. Michael’s experience ranges from project management to DevOps engineering and mobile app development. Aside from this, he has accomplishments in the local and worldwide technology arenas.
The two of them together created the website Help.lk, a start-up that was recently selected to advance to the finals of the Entrepreneurial World Cup. We caught up with them for a chat about Help.lk and the upcoming Entrepreneurial World Cup. Here’s what they had to say.
What is Help.lk?
Help.lk allows students to instantly connect with a subject expert to clarify their doubts whenever they’re stuck while studying.
Say, for example, you’re studying for an exam, and you’re stuck in a question. You try asking your friends, family, teacher, or even Google. Most probably, your parents cannot remember, your friends might not know the answer, and you can’t connect to your school teacher whenever you want.
Lots of students try Google before coming to us because they can’t get to certain steps; they still need someone to help them understand what is happening.
Sri Lanka does not cultivate a self-resilient culture by encouraging university students to work part-time while they are on campus which helps them to grow and up-skill themselves.
This is where we come in: whenever a student has a study-related problem, we instantly connect them with an expert for a shorter help session. On average a session goes for 15-25 minutes.
How it works is, students log in, select the subject they need help with and click the “start a chat” button. At that very moment, we will start to notify tutors – the same way those Uber drivers get a ride notification. The first expert to accept the session will get connected to help the student.
What inspired you to start it?
Harsha: I’m a big fan of self-directed learning and building an impactful business. My cousins annoy me with their maths questions quite frequently and I guess that is how I got the idea. I wanted to build a platform that promoted self-directed learning and just support when you actually need it.
Help.lk was recently selected as an early stage national finalist for the Entrepreneurial World Cup. How do you feel about this achievement?
Help.lk is pleased to have been shortlisted as a national finalist for the Entrepreneurial World Cup. Our team is thrilled to be a part of this challenge, and we believe it will be a fantastic opportunity to interact with investors, build our network, and identify new prospects, moreover, represent Sri Lanka. We believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to establish the Help.lk brand on a worldwide scale. We’re also planning to rebrand help.lk as AskLet (AskLet.co)
What is the Entrepreneurial World Cup?
Whether you are dreaming about launching a startup or you already have a Series A round, the Entrepreneurship World Cup can help you take your next big step.
The Entrepreneurship World Cup is more than just a pitch competition. It gives everyone who enters access to the knowledge, networks, and for some, the capital they need to start and scale a company.
How is Help.lk preparing for the finals?
Our crew is getting well-prepared for the task, and we are actively seeking possibilities in Sri Lanka and around the world. The team is studying new revenue models, reaching out to local audiences, and developing the next major edition of the mobile app. Team Help.lk seeks to expand our public relations plans in order to get traction within Sri Lanka’s local communities.
What were some of the challenges you faced along your journey?
One major thing we look into each day is our average matching time. A few months back, it was more than five-10 minutes and now we have managed to bring it down to less than 30 seconds in an ideal situation, or under two minutes most of the time. Startups are always a bumpy ride, big bumps, small bumps, it’s pretty normal now.
Has the pandemic affected Help.lk in any way?
When it comes to the present Covid-19 pandemic issues, distance and online learning is a significant topic. While students are unable to attend classes, students are looking for e-Learning possibilities. Help.lk has provided an excellent service to students who are unable to interact with instructors due to their absence from school. Help.lk has been an invaluable resource for students seeking assistance during the pandemic. The outbreak has given our business a significant boost, and we are grateful to have been able to assist so many kids during this difficult time.
Do you have any upcoming plans?
We’re going to rebrand help.lk as AskLet (Asklet.co). After lots of trial and error, we understood the best segment of the market are students who are doing Edexcel and CIE. We will keep unlocking the customer value throughout the education life cycle. We will start off with offering help only up to O/L’s, and then once the users move up the ladder, we will unlock A/L’s, and so on.
Even after that, we can help people connect to experts from various fields. So for example, if you need help with an Excel formula, we will evolve to be a service to provide on-demand instant help.
Our development team is in the final phase of developing our brand new mobile app. We’re planning to launch it in early September. We will start onboarding tutors in early August.