Sailing after A/L’s – Gurupaara Compass

Finished your G.C.E. Ordinary Level exams? Next two years of your life is going to be a roller-coaster ride with Advance Level, being school seniors and everybody wanting you to pass with 3 As.

Well whichever the stream your pick, we may have a way to figure out path for you to get where you want in your academic/professional life. No we don’t think you should go to your neighborhood aunty for advice. Not everyone wants or can be a doctor or an engineer, we all have different dreams to follow after we finish our A/L’s. In the midst of partying and enjoying life, now might be a good time to give a thought about what you actually want to do in the future. So better late than never right? That is why we sat down to have a chat with a founder of ‘GuruPaara’, Adhisha Gammanpila, to discuss their new project for people who just finished their exams.

GuruPaara, founded by SurfEdge, is a place to find all the A/L tuition classes (individual, group, hall, you name it) in one place. was launched in January 2016, and according to stats, it has been growing and growing serving the crowd ever since. They handle more than 300,000 monthly search requests and according to Adhisha, one of the scariest moment was finding out that his own parents are using GuruPaara to find tuition classes for his sister.

GuruPaara was a product of months and months of planning, and an idea to reduce the amount of paper bills distributed (no paper bills by 2020, is the target) about tuition classes and to introduce a proper system for the teachers to connect with the students. GuruPaara survived its first wave of G.C.E. A/L in 2016 and paper bills are still on the way, but the platform for the teachers to connect with students, they’ve achieved it. Adhisha commented, “we noticed that the amount of searches for teachers have peaked when it’s close to term tests, and surprisingly just a few weeks before the A/L exam”. GuruPaara provides features for the teachers, like an easy way to send notifications to the students (text messages and WhatsApp), about class updates.
SurfEdge, however wasn’t born in a day. According to Adhisha, he started his tech journey at home with a simple Google search at the grade of 4. This Google search led to making his first web page at grade 6 and then making a phone app that became Worlds 2nd most Innovative Team for developing the Mobile Application 2012 at Oracle ThinkQuest. Which got Adhisha, Chamth and Roshnal a chance meet and learn from the Silicon Valley for 3 weeks.

The Trio at Facebook HQ
The Trio at Facebook HQ

This however inspired Adhisha to wonder, about their own startup, thus SurfEdge was born. According to him, SurfEdge is made out of 8 hybrids. The eight are coders and tech geeks at heart, however the location of SurfEdge HQ (at Chamth’s place right above the basement), is a sign that the 8 do handle everything by themselves. The team at SurfEdge consists of Chamath Palihawadana (Tech Lead), Charu De Silva (Marketing), Janith Gamage (Developer), Lakindu Gunesekara (Finance), Dumendra Abeywardana (Public Relations), Sanila Vindula (Developer), Damian Perera (Developer), Supun Perera (Developer).

Since SurfEdge is all about innovation, they are currently competing at Sirasa’s Kotiyak Watina Adahas reality TV show with their new project Inly. Inly is a project to provide “Free Internet” to the public, it is a global product. So we asked Adhisha about the future of SurfEdge, he stated that GuruPaara, has managed to revolutionize the A/L class industry in Colombo however it is yet to expand to the other areas, including expanding from the A/L classes to above and below levels of exams. Compass, is their new project. It would be for the people who used GuruPaara for their A/L’s. The future of SurfEdge is still undecided and hopefully Compass will guide them through stormy weather ahead. Inly will be a huge part of SurfEdge’s future plan as all the branches of SurfEdge would be integrated to use Inly.

 Gurupaara Compass interface
Gurupaara Compass interface

Getting back to the topic, Have you just sat for your A/Ls and is wondering what’s next? Well, GuruPaara Compass would be the new addition to GuruPaara family mainly focusing on the life after A/L’s. Compass has already won the Youth Hack 2016 award.

YouthHack Champ Team
YouthHack Champ Team

Compass has the ability to generate personalized timelines for anyone who uses it depending on their ambition. Basically, a guide for our higher education, thus the name. The specialty about Compass is that, the timelines are dynamic and can be updated as Adhisha explained. For example, a person aspiring to be a Software Engineer by studying at UCSC, will be suggested with the ability to follow a course such as CIMA till the university entrance. The courses are suggested by few of the private institutes. However, the timeline generated would be a specific timeline just for the user and the ambition. Adhisha mentioned that the next improvements to Compass would follow giving more opportunities for the students when the G.C.E. A/L 2016 results come out.

However, we at Refresh decided to give the Compass a try. Our first ambition was to be dream of our mother, the Doctor. We were suggested with a timeline when the MBBS degree would be starting and the ending day, also it suggested us to do CIMA to be “special”. This was a special feature of compass which has been added by analyzing the industry and the job market according to Adhisha.

The path to be a Doctor
The path to be a Doctor

And we tried the favorite type of ambition at Refresh, the Entrepreneur.

The path to be an entrepreneur.
The path to be an entrepreneur.

We were suggested with the path to follow BBA in Management and to follow CIMA. This sounds about right, doesn’t it?

SurfEdge, this little startup which started at Chamath’s home, will keep growing and inspiring the young generation. Being young and trying to do something for the country isn’t easy, specially when it comes to getting a helping hand from the Government, but Adhisha says that “we need to push ourselves to do what we love”.

The team has personally helped many young startups to flourish their ideas and are open to help the youngsters seeking a hand. He is currently a first year studying Computer Science at University of Sri Jayawardenapura, a co-founder of a tech startup, yet up to this day, he learned every bit of coding on his own. His word of advice for the fresh set of school leavers is to learn something new on their own and to utilize the few months waiting for a decision from the Department of Examinations to do something you love.

GuruPaara has launched its new service GuruPaara Compass today to provide personalized timelines in achieving their ambitions. If you are a 2018 A/L student or have just finished your A/Ls and awaiting results while biting your nails, well it could be high time you get  a personalized timeline for yourself at


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