Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Kapruka CEO’s Eisenhower Fellowship brings wealth of knowledge to Sri Lanka’s e-commerce eco-system
While receiving his first Eisenhower Fellowship in the US this year, Kapruka. com CEO Dulith Herath brings to Sri Lanka a wealth of information, knowledge and ideas to boost the e- commerce eco- system in the country.
Eisenhower Fellowship is a world renowned platform in the US where entrepreneurs meet world leaders and dignitaries from various fields of expertise, participate to share and promote ideas and to foster relationships as part of the network of sharing ideas and vision for the future.
In a recent interview with the Business Times Kapruka. com CEO and co- founder of Grasshoppers, Dulith Herath shared his expertise knowledge and plans for the future.
Mr. Herath said, “I had 115 meetings in six weeks in nine cities during the Eisenhower Fellowship in the US. The Fellowship selects only one entrepreneur from 20 countries, brings them to the US and gives them the opportunity to meet whoever they want. All the meetings I had are with companies that are not even heard of, but thriving. The knowledge I got is phenomenal and one- on- one meetings with the CEO’s of those companies.”
While Sri Lanka is lagging with exports and marketing local products to countries abroad, Mr. Herath during one of the Eisenhower Fellowship meetings got the country account for Amazon. com in Sri Lanka. Now local manufacturers can sell their products online through Amazon by having the product in Sri Lanka.
“We are getting all exporters in Sri Lanka to list their products on Amazon under Kapruka. We will buy the products from the local seller and Grasshoppers will export them from Sri Lanka to the US,” stated Mr. Herath while adding, Grasshoppers has figured out the best cross border shipping methods. “The inventory stays in Sri Lanka until we hit an order,” he noted.
Parallel to Amazon, the products will also be listed on Bonanza. com and few other platforms, so ‘we’ may get the hit from any of them, he said. When there is an order, Grasshoppers will do the logistical operation to move the products to the US. Shipping costs will be brought down to a phenomenal level by using passenger aircrafts. “Kapruka. com has PayPal accounts and somehow the money will reach the country,” stated Mr. Herath.
He also stressed that nobody was able to open the door of selling local products on Amazon or any other global e- commerce platforms. “It was very difficult to penetrate even to a junior level person at Amazon. Because of the Eisenhower Fellowship it was possible for me to meet the head of ‘ Fulfillment by Amazon’ and get the country account for Amazon in Sri Lanka then and there itself, since the ground work has been done earlier,” he stated.
Initial operations will start in three markets; Amazon- US, Amazon- EU and Amazon- India. Japan is another major market, a very fast moving mature e-commerce market.
Sri Lanka is an immature e- commerce market, Mr. Herath noted, elaborating that out of 21 million people in Sri Lanka only 500,000 people use e- commerce. The population is disproportionate to the engagement of people on e- commerce. Sri Lanka has a huge potential to become a mature market like the US and Japan, he noted.