“Everybody loves a good startup story, but there’s a fantasy built around them. The reality of startups is very different for most people. It takes a lot of grit and resilience to face things and do what you need to,” says Suren Pinto, Founder and chief executive – Wavenet, reflecting on the company’s learnings and ascent over the last two decades ago.
Wavenet walks the line between IT and telecom as a telco software, systems and IT solutions provider to wireless and wireline carriers. When the IT industry began changing the telecom sector a decade ago, Pinto and the team at Wavenet found they had an edge thanks to their niche specialisation. While telecom companies still tussle with this rapid unification of IT and telecom, for Wavenet, this digital transformation is intuitive thanks to their deep domain knowledge.
“We loved telecom. It was a great industry to be in, and the pace of innovation was phenomenal. From a global perspective and local perspective, Sri Lanka was at the forefront in telecom and for us to be associated with the industry at the time was magical,” says Pinto. “The problem today for our customers is digital transformation. The telecom world needs to transform themselves – their network, the way they work, their operations. We assist with this unification of the IT world and the telecom world, which is happening rapidly.”
I’m excited about what AI is bringing to customer experience and the ability for companies like us to tap into the power of AI in driving customer experience.”
For Pinto, there are changes which herald expansion within telecom and IT. “I’m excited about what AI is bringing to customer experience and the ability for companies like us to tap into the power of AI in driving customer experience,” he notes.
Wavenet’s client base is mostly overseas. Based on their global experience, Pinto cautions that Sri Lankan telecom companies should be wary of a cannibalisation of revenue by over-the-top (OTT) players who use telecom infrastructure to deliver services but don’t pay the telecom operator. WhatsApp and similar applications superseding text messages and local and international calls is a recent example. Wavenet has customers in 17 countries. Its expansion has been a series of leaps.
A driver for Wavenet was to convert negativity and scepticism about a Sri Lankan company delivering critical infrastructure technology. When meeting with international customers, it took time to encourage most to go beyond a perception bias and see Wavenet not merely as a Sri Lankan company, but as a Sri Lankan company providing robust technology.