Story of Thathsara Palliyaguru
I have always been an enthusiast of almost anything, whether it’s a new idea, meeting a new person or driving a new project. I think the world we live in is much better in many ways compared to how it used to be and I believe we have many tough journeys ahead of us, but intrinsically we are all capable of doing something about it. I love latest tech, new innovations and figuring out new solutions, especially in a team setting! I would also pet anything, even a crocodile, if it didn’t bit me.
What's your story before Skåne Startups?
Since I come from a business background in Sri Lanka, and pursued a bachelor’s degree in International Business in New York with a minor in Finance, business areas have always spiked my interest. During the eight years I spent in New York I have also worked in sales and marketing and business operations. Since then, I have moved to Sweden to explore innovation and sustainability.
I began my journey in Sweden with a scholarship for an MSc at Lund University. This gave me the perfect opportunity to be involved within the thriving tech ecosystem in Skåne region and start my work with key organizations such as Skåne Startups and Malmö Municipality’s Innovation and Development Department. Through an internship via Lund University, I also had the opportunity to be involved and work with the UNOPS S3i Innovation Center which was the UNOPS Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation (S3i) initiative.
Thathsara Palliyaguru (3rd from the right) in WiE event 2022
What was your role at Skåne Startups?
I had a very exciting role at Skåne Startups as the lead of Women in Entrepreneurship (WiE) program. With the support of Skåne Startups, during my time in this role, I had the opportunity to host and moderate 15 Women in Entrepreneurship Networking events with various stakeholders, connecting various branches of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Skåne.
Thathsara Palliyaguru was hosting Student Startup matching event 2022
In 2021, this work led to organizing global events such as World Pride for Malmö pride, where I was the main correspondent and the moderator for the Entrepreneurship for LGBTQIA+ people event. It was a high-impact event that led me to keep contributing to Skåne Startups' work via really amazing events such as Startup Live, where I was the moderator for the climate panel and Student Startup Matching event at Malmö University, to name a few!
Thathsara Palliyaguru (3rd from the right) hosted Malmö Pride x WiE edition 2021
What did you enjoy the most at Skåne Startups?
The team spirit and creating a can-do environment to overcome any and all challenges along the way! This is very important for me because I am definitely an “all-in” kind of a person. The fact that people care about what they do inspires me exponentially. This inspiration was very prominent in the community and at Skåne Startups.
It was important to me that we made sure to create safe spaces during our events and also within the team where we came together to talk about almost any topic. From Fundraising to Mental Health. From Deeptech to Yogic breathing. Any and all were welcome and it all mattered. Also, the fact that we were a super diverse team coming from all over the world made us very resilient as a team and we could withhold any challenge that came our way.
Thathsara Palliyaguru (1st from the right) moderated the panel at Startup Live! 2022)
Can you tell us about your current work?
Currently, I work with business intelligence and business strategy. I am incredibly lucky to be part of an amazing team in Gothenburg at AB Volvo Group’s Strategy team. Our team is super kind and brilliant, and the work I do is heavily embedded in sustainability and innovation.
I am inspired by the work ethic, equality, importance of diversity, incredible engineering and amazing technology that gets created here. Every day I learn something new and I literally have to pinch myself every once in a while to know that this is what I get to do! I love science, technology, new innovations and figuring out new solutions, especially in a team setting.
What is your advice for other talents?
I think it's super important to be kind and listen actively. Keep connecting with people and keep helping but also help yourself! (Can’t pour from an empty cup eh? : D)
If you are building, build a diverse team and that would be the biggest strength. When all fails, it is the team that will carry through. I listened to Simon Sinek say that it is easy to find people who can navigate calm waters, but people who will stick through a rough storm, that's who you really want. So build a relationship with those who you work with, honest vulnerabilities can achieve lengths that stoic masquerades cannot even dream of!
Something I’m unreasonably passionate about
People who give a damn! Essentially people who care, and technology. Put these two together, and I think we will see miracles happen.
Thathsara Palliyaguru and the Skåne Startups team 2021