2021 Dec 11
Two software engineers and one digital marketer walked into a bar (figuratively speaking) and started a business that just celebrated their first year since the launch!
Sachin Wickramasinghe, a software engineer who has been in the industry for over 3 years, received a gift voucher at a secret santa party in 2019. This was an LKR 2,000 voucher, and it was from a shop that he didn’t prefer going to. Plus, there was nothing in that shop for him to purchase for LKR 2,000, which got him thinking about how he could have put the LKR 2,000 voucher to better use at another retail store or even a café, allowing him to actually enjoy the product that he purchases.
With this idea in mind, Sachin pitched it to his friends Shamindri Attanayake and Devni Panduwawala and started to plan the inception of Thyaga. And by the end of 2020, they gathered a small team and launched the venture.
Thyaga is a website that allows you to gift vouchers to your loved ones. It gives the receiver the option of using that gift voucher on 85 brands that they have on board. Their service saves the buyer the hassle of deciding and selecting an appropriate merchant to purchase the voucher from, while also providing the receiver with a variety of options to choose from when deciding to spend the voucher. Want to hear something even cooler? One Thyaga voucher can also be used at multiple different merchants, which allows the receiver to spend the same voucher partially at different places.
Ever since Thyaga was launched, they’ve been growing rapidly in the market. They started with just 40 merchants on board, and now they’ve grown to partner up with 85 brands. Plus, Thayaga is not only used by Lankans living in Sri Lanka, but by Sri Lankans living all around the world.
They also started with one simple product, but have now evolved to offering a gift card that looks much more appealing to what they had earlier. Not only that, they provide themed gift cards for birthdays, holiday seasons and different special occasions. Another unique service they offer is to give corporates the opportunity to give Thyaga vouchers to their clients and employees with their logo branded on the voucher.
The team at Thyaga has fought many battles to get to where they are today. When first starting out, they were all employed in different companies, so they had to hustle and manage work between two jobs. In addition, they struggled to get merchants to partner up with them in the beginning. They spoke to us about how many merchants were hesitant and reluctant to place their faith in them, as this was a completely new model for them and they were just a startup.
Regardless of how daring the challenge was, these young Spartans persevered through it all. They aim to see massive growth within the next year, with many more business partners and merchants on board to support their success.
Their advice to all young aspiring small business entrepreneurs out there, is to be persistent with the goals that they have set for themselves, and to not make ‘giving up’ an option at the start. They stressed about the importance of patience, and how being patient when challenges come your way is the way to go. Ignoring the naysayers who try to bring you down and believing in knowing what’s best for your business is also something that aspiring small business entrepreneurs should keep in mind.