It is important for me to ensure that the people around the world has access to the best of what this world has to offer. We have a long journey ahead to achieve this vision.
As a part of my series about “ Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Ravidu Mario Weerakoon. He started his career in E-commerce logistics, and then later founded Surf2ship.com.Surf2ship.com is the world’s first price comparison website that offers cross border shipping services. Recently Ravidu started sharing his expertise in the Entrepreneur Magazine on E-commerce & Logistics.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Being a digital native myself, I’m a person who is amused by technology and the Internet. And, being tech savvy, I chose a career in e-commerce and joined an e-commerce logistics company. And here I am, in my 4th year at the company while pursuing Surf2ship. Even though a majority of my focus was on E-commerce, it has expanded into logistics & fulfillment.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In the initial years of my career I came across a customer who wanted two identical toys for his twins. When we contacted the local vendors for the item, only one item was available. Therefore, we contacted a vendor in China who offered the same toys.
The interesting part in this incident is that the Chinese vendor was able to send the item within 5 days of order whereas the local Sri Lankan vendor took almost 2 weeks. Also, the price charged by the Chinese vendor was comparatively cheaper than that of the local vendor. This was alarming to realize. I found that the drastic price differences are due to many intermediaries in Sri Lanka.
Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
My “Big Idea” is to offer a price comparison website along with the solution of cross border shipping. This merge of two already existing concepts was overlooked all these years. This would be the next generation of smart shopping. A customer would be able to compare prices and get them shipped at the lowest rates possible. This completely changes the landscape of online shopping & cross border shipping to the next level.
How do you think this will change the world?
This will change the way global buyers shop through ecommerce. Global customers can purchase from any country, because shipping will be much easier than before. Cross border shipping will be convenient.
Anyone living in any part of the world will be able to get the best deals without being restricted by shipping availability or cost. Price comparison has always been a factor of competition among vendors. This idea, I am sure, will accelerate the ecommerce business faster. For developing regions, this could enhance the living standards and help improve the amount of choice people will have.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
There was an instance where I wanted to order something from an overseas vendor, but shipping to Sri Lanka wasn’t available. This incident showed me that shipping is either not available or is to expensive to countries like Sri Lanka.
Also, the number of vendors in Sri Lanka are relatively low which allows less options to the customer, which lead to high prices.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
Extensive marketing is essential to bring forth this idea to the general public and to share the benefits it holds. This may include social media marketing where a large number of online buyers can be reached. Social media influencers will also be instrumental in marketing Surf2Ship.com. I am in talks with groups in India and China at the moment for adaptations within the region and future expansion.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Patience — I realized throughout my entrepreneurship journey that you can’t harvest the returns as soon as you start the business. You need to wait for it.
- Not knowing it all — There is no way you will know everything, so remember to listen to what people around you have to share and decide for yourself. Always remain as up to date as possible.
- Cautious — The business world isn’t a bed of roses. As much as you have endless opportunities, you will also find knives thrown at you from various sides. Hence, being cautious is a must.
- Improve personal relationship — It is always good to have great contacts in terms of business. Luckily over the years I have expanded the amount of contacts around me.
- Perseverance — “Keep going” BUT know when to give up.
The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?
The world is running at high speed. To “future proof” your career, you will have to keep yourself updated every day. The attitude of “never learning enough” is required to be on the game.
Based on the future trends in your industry, if you had a million dollars, what would you invest in?
I will invest further into increasing partnerships with various E-commerce vendors and help local vendors with ideas and products to sell globally via various platforms. I believe this will improve the livelihood of early entrepreneurs. It is important for me to ensure that people around the world has access to the best of what this world has to offer. We have a long journey ahead to achieve this vision.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
- Commitment. Everyone must have commitment because hard work will always pay off. If you want to be successful, you must also work smart
- Be passionate about what you do. You should be thirsty to find that love and passion
- Never give up. This attitude is very important when facing inevitable failures. However, if the ship is sinking, then do not try to stay on that ship. There are right reasons to give up and move in a new direction
Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?
Imagine the ability to compare prices of products from various countries and have them shipped to your doorstep. What if we combine cross border shipping with price comparison? It will be the shopping paradice for the large market share of online buyers worldwide. Surf2Ship will disrupt the landscape of online shopping.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow Surf2Ship: https://www.surf2ship.com/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to share this story with you.