Dinesh Rajawasan is the CEO of Anim8, our print partner. Anim8 has an interesting story, so I asked him about it and got some very Dinesh, answers. He talked about how a tech startup ended up as a printing firm; going green; and the charity work they help organize.
Dinesh is also a weight lifter, there's a video he showed me of him pulling a 1-ton jeep - which sadly, is not public. I It's not every day you see a CEO doing deadlifts, so I added them to the article. LMD can't touch this!
Tell us about your electric car project!
The electric car is about making electric cool and affordable. I feel Nissan made the Leaf extra ugly just to see if people would buy it just for being electric.
Imagine if once your car engine was done, one option would be to replace with electric. This works well in our context where car prices are very high.
Besides the usual advantages of electric such as reliability: no oil changes, not going to a fuel station, maybe charging from solar, not wasting 70% of energy as heat and not supporting global terrorism every time you fill up.
And you Ferment?
You lift, bro.
I also cycle 18km, 4 times a week; bench press 110 kg, front squat 140kg, and deadlift 210kg.
What made you go into printing?
We started as an Animation company, hence the name Anim8. In the late 90's we needed print to push our animations at board presentations. People were uncomfortable spending 100k on 20secs of animation. Prints played a huge roll in selling. Outsourced prints were very expensive and ate significantly into our bottomline. We bought a printer with our 1st payments. Then other animators started coming to us for colour prints. Within 2 years of that printer we were essentially a print company.
But you're an engineer.
An engineer's job is to bring in the science. A properly trained engineer can bring science to anything from banking to baking. Printing happened because it was what people were willing to pay me for; i just brought the passion of engineering to it.
When did you decide to take the risk, and start your own company?
Ambition is the reason I started. There wasn't much risk really. We started with no capital, we convinced a client to give us an advance on a big job and bought our first computer with that. I had six months expenses saved up and my parents weren't exactly going to let me starve.
The more pertinent question is what drove me to continue. This is what I look back at.
You do a lot of social work: recycling, aid, and organizing against horse racing.
Kindness Collective was started by Jessica as group of people that were shocked that people were trying to make horse racing cool again. Horse racing has been going on in Sri Lanka since colonial times. Its an inherently cruel sport it was dying a natural death, there was no need to revive it.
Later when the floods happened last year we realised we had already built a platform of like mined people eager to help out. We became a conduit for the good work people wanted to do.
We can recycle all the bits left over from finishing prints, but the plastic from your 2 hour party, 2 day conference or 2 week promotion is going to last 400 years. Anim8 is trying to get people to move to biodegradable materials. We are starting with our promotional displays. The seasonal displays you see outside our office is made from cardboard. So it warps for rain and sunlight, but it lasts a good 2 weeks. A month after its food for earthworms.
Anim8.lk currently recycles 200 kilograms of paper a month, and is increasing it's solar power utilization.
What are your plans for Anim8's future?
Anim8 is always interested in what you think we should be doing for you.
We have been successful in meeting the needs placed upon us and growing into those niches. In the future we have to look at making markets no one knew existed.