ECONOMYNEXT – Mitra Innovation, a software company with its research unit in Sri Lanka, is growing so fast it plans to double its engineering team by year-end, with sales doubling every six months since it was founded five years ago.
Chief Executive Ashok Suppiah said the company, with headquarters in the UK and a presence in Australia and the US, has annual sales of $10-12 million.
“We don’t compete in standard IT (information technology),” he told a news conference. “We focus on new ways of solving problems. People come to us with innovative ideas like new ways of delivering healthcare services.”
Mitra Innovation not only builds technology for clients using open source middleware, but helps run it as well, and does continuous enhancements.
“We try to focus on innovation – what can we do better and how can we cut a couple of steps in processes. All engineering research and development happens in Colombo, in Moratuwa, close to the university. We are growing very fast and have customers from the UK and Australia.”
Mitra Innovation will employ 150 people, 90 percent of them Sri Lankans, by June, but plans to add at least 50 more by the end of the year, Suppiah said. “We’re hiring lots of people in Sri Lanka, from new to experienced people, giving them professional training and opportunities to be innovative.”
Suppiah formed Mitra Innovation in 2012 with Dammika Ganegama (now managing director), both former employees of Virtusa, along with Derek Bell, the chief operating officer (a former executive at British Telecom).
Ganegama said Mitra Innovation, which has expertise in systems integration and builds software that connects different sub-systems of an organization and helps them work together, gets 5-8 new customers every quarter, with most clients on 3-5 year contracts.
Its main focus is on small businesses, but it has established customers like Philips and Pizza Hut, as well as government agencies.
Suppiah said the finance sector held potential, particularly in areas like pensions management, insurance and foreign exchange conversion.
A platform to run polling stations developed by Mitra Innovation was used in the British elections last year.
The company is also working on healthcare products such as technology that monitors elderly people remotely and alerts their children if something goes wrong, like a fall or an increase in temperature.
It recently won a contract from Travis Perkins, a British builders’ merchant and home improvement retailer with 1,900 outlets and 24,000 people, to integrate a large number of existing proprietary internal systems.
Mitra Innovation has two clients locally: Delmege, for which it did a sales force automation platform, and Capital Alliance, for which it helped develop a customer relationship management system.
(COLOMBO, May 18, 2017)