Hatch has joined forces with Draper Startup House to unveil Colombo’s first-ever co-living space. The space marks the first phase of Hatch’s strategic partnership with Draper Startup House, and was officially opened by Silicon Valley billionaire investor Tim Draper during his recent visit to Sri Lanka. Through this initiative, Hatch serves to encourage digital nomad entrepreneurs to collaborate with local startups by providing the necessary infrastructure and a supportive community for them to connect and engage.
The co-living space is located at Orion City in Colombo 09 – the heart of the best and brightest of Sri Lanka’s IT/BPO Industry. Known as Colombo’s first IT park, Orion City houses a diverse mix of Nasdaq-listed global companies and up-and-coming local startups. With the addition of the co-living space the business center now aims to provide a space conducive to community creation, where digital nomads can engage with founders within the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. Since its inception, Hatch has been at the forefront of providing incubation and acceleration programs for startups and has earned recognition for its award-winning co-working space. The co-living space is an extension of these efforts, with the goal of positioning Colombo, and Sri Lanka, as a strategic location for digital nomads to get inspired, find success, and support the economy.
“We seek to redefine the traditional digital nomad by attracting entrepreneurs who build businesses out of Sri Lanka using local talent and their international contacts for distribution and sales,” said Jeevan Gnanam, co-founder of Hatch, referring to ‘traditional digital nomads’ as those who would typically only contribute to the local economy by bringing in foreign exchange and supporting local businesses in the short term. “Our co-living space will encourage collaboration between digital nomads and local startups/entrepreneurs to make their contributions to the local economy more sustainable and impactful, all while supporting the existing infrastructure in place from coworking spaces to startup accelerators.”
In 2021, Hatch launched Sri Lanka’s first-ever digital nomad ambassador program, the NOMAD4LK competition. Run in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka, ENPACT e.V. in Berlin, Germany, and the Colombo Embassy in Berlin, the competition aimed to initiate engagement between digital nomads visiting Colombo and the local startup ecosystem. The winner of the competition, Matt de Caussin, an American entrepreneur residing in Germany, traveled to Sri Lanka amidst challenging economic times. Despite facing fuel shortages, electricity outages, and uncertain travel schedules, de Caussin chose to stay and was able to build a supportive community that provided him with the necessary support and direction to manage his travels. This program served to demonstrate the potential for collaboration when the right infrastructure is in place—potential Hatch is poised to tap into.
Sri Lanka is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and low cost of living, earning it the No. 2 spot in Club Med’s “Top Countries in the World to Live as a Digital Nomad” in 2021. Hatch sees opportunity amidst crisis and seeks to help realize a robust economy for Sri Lanka by playing to its strengths as a global tourist destination. Beyond Hatch X Draper Startup House, Hatch’s efforts to build a sustainable startup ecosystem in Colombo will pave the way for more sustainable economic development for Sri Lanka.
Image Caption: Hatch X Draper Startup House teams at the official opening of the co-living space at Orion City