Dulith Herath

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dulith Herath
Dulith Herath In Suit.jpg
Alma materRoyal College, Colombo
University of Kentucky
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forkapruka.com, Java Lounge, Grasshoppers.

Dulith Herath is a Sri Lankan entrepreneur.[1] He is the founder and chairman of the Sri Lankan e-commerce platform Kapruka.com, Java Lounge and the co-founder of Grasshoppers Pvt. Ltd. which provides logistics to small enterprises in Sri Lanka.[2] Herath received an Eisenhower Fellowship for his project Grasshopper.

Early life & career[edit]

Dulith was born in Colombo. He did his schooling at Royal College, Colombo.[3] Dulith graduated from the University of Kentucky.

Herath founded Kapruka.com in February 2002.[citation needed] Kapruka was started with the idea of helping expats buy things in Sri Lanka.[citation needed] Dulith is known to be a copy-cat entrepreneur that thrives on stealing the ideas from successful western business models and implementing them in Sri Lanka, for example Kapruka is the Sri Lankan copy of Amazon while Java Lounge is a copy of Starbucks. [4] In 2016, Herath along with Harsha Liyanage started logistics provider Grasshoppers Pvt. Ltd.[5] This project was seed funded by AFF (www.aavishkaar.in) and recognized by United Nations as an enabler for e-commerce in developing countries.[6]

Controversies[edit]

In 2013, the offices of Kapruka were raided by the Excise Department of Sri Lanka for allegedly selling liquor without a license.[7] Herath denied the allegations in a letter to the public.[8]

As global e-commerce started to rapidly grow in Sri Lanka with increased use of Alibaba, Amazon, and EBay by citizens, Dulith was notoriously lobbying for restricted trade from these global e-commerce channels. Many speculated that his intentions were to create a monopoly for Kapruka for e-commerce in Sri Lanka and act as the middle man taking a commission from all e-commerce sales, rather than allowing customers to purchase products directly at a better price [9]. The move was heavily opposed by the public that condemned the anti-free market sentiments. Dulith was not granted his request by the government, the decision was applauded by the citizens of Sri Lanka.

On March 25, 2020, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) of Sri Lanka personnel raided Kapruka office for selling essential food items at prices far above the maximum retail price (MRP) fixed by the Government. The raid follows complaints lodged with the CAA by people who used the platform kapruka.com to order home deliveries of essential items during the curfew under COVID-19 virus pandemic. Herath faced extensive social media backlash for the reason given by him to overprice essential items.[10][11][12]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a curfew was enforced by the government of Sri Lanka with the effect of restricting the general public's access to groceries. Dulith was found to be unethically taking advantage of the situation at the expense of the public. Dulith was investigated for trying to exploit customers by the authorities, subsequently Dulith was exposed on video selling items at exorbitant rates to capitalize on the situation[13]. This resulted in severe backlash from the community as they were disgusted by his lack of morals. Dulith was condemned on social media for his illegal and unethical exploitation of a crisis. This led to a general boycott of Dulith's businesses, Kapruka and Java Lounge.

Globalization and the proliferation of internet access in Sri Lanka raised awareness of Western business models, resulting in Kapruka and Java Lounge losing their market share to competitors that set up similar ventures. This has not been favorable for the business's as declining revenues and profits have severely hurt the companies financially. Kapruka has been exposed several times for delivering expired products trying to skim revenue from customers. [14] In addition the company has also faced serious claims of being unable to refund customers and is embroiled in several civil suits. This was exposed on the Kapruka social media page by several customers.[15]

The publicity of the Covid incident resulted in past stories of the unethical practices of Kapruka being brought to light. Several consumers have accused Kapruka of fraud and mismanagement due to the company taking full payment for delivery of goods and not delivering them. Many of these consumers had stated their complaints since 2013 on various independent forums as they stated the company was ignoring them after taking their money[16]. They claimed that Kapruka deleted their comments, so they posted their complaints on independent forums to voice out their frustration and make the public aware. In addition after the Covid incident, consumers claimed that they found it strange that Kapruka had only positive comments on their website but several negative posts on digital spaces such Google reviews and Facebook which led to further speculation that Kapruka was manipulating their reputation. Kapruka currently holds an F rating by the Better Business Bureau due to Kapruka's failure to address customer concerns.[17]

Industry experts suspect that the unethical actions of Kapruka and current investigations [18] will reflect the true position of the company and its chairman. Kapruka has all the hallmarks of a similar fraud in Sri Lanka done by Blue Mountain Properties in Sri Lanka [19]. The chairmen of both companies were notorious in making outlandish claims on social media to gain the trust of consumers and then failing to deliver, both companies had several negative reviews on independent digital forums but only had positive reviews on forums they controlled, and both companies requested payments to be made upfront without delivery of the final good and then make various excuses when customers request for a refund.


Honors & awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lankan eCom Dulith Herath meets Jack Ma of Alibaba". 8 May 2017.
  2. ^ "DULITH HERATH". Archived from the original on 2017-09-26.
  3. ^ Senanayake, Maheen (7 March 2015). "El Dorado". The Island.
  4. ^ http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=120909
  5. ^ Roy, Debjyoti (20 June 2017). "Aavishkaar strikes second deal in Sri Lanka". VC Circle.
  6. ^ "Kapruka founder Dulith Herath addresses UN World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva". Daily FT. 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ ""Kapruka" caught for illegal liquor trade!". archive.srilankamirror.com. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  8. ^ Lanka, Kapruka Sri. "Kapruka Response To Falle Liquor Racket Allegations". Kapruka. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  9. ^ https://www.asianmirror.lk/news/item/25345-kapruka-founder-dulith-herath-censured-online-for-anti-free-market-comments-at-pre-budget-forum
  10. ^ "CAA raids e-platform for selling essential items over fixed price | Daily FT". www.ft.lk. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  11. ^ kelum. "පාරිභෝගික අධිකාරිය kapruka.com වටලලා නඩුත් දායි !". sinhala.srilankamirror.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  12. ^ tharindu. "ජනතාව ගසාකන බවට kapruka.com ට චෝදනා : කෙරුමා දුලිත්". sinhala.srilankamirror.com. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  13. ^ http://www.dailymirror.lk/top_story/Retail-website-Kapruka-which-sold-goods-for-exorbitant-prices-raided/155-185607
  14. ^ https://www.asianmirror.lk/news/item/31311-kapruka-in-hot-water-again-for-selling-low-quality-mother-s-day-gifts-including-spoiled-and-near-expired-products
  15. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pg/Kapruka-1841279409238853/reviews/
  16. ^ https://www.readme.lk/man-wishing-tree-dulith-herath-kapruka/
  17. ^ "Kapruka | Better Business Bureau® Profile". www.bbb.org. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  18. ^ https://srilankamirror.com/biz/17573-caa-sues-kapruka-com-for-overcharging-customers
  19. ^ https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/07/09/blue-mountain-properties-large-scale-scam/
  20. ^ "Kapruka.com's Dulith Herath bags top Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneur Award". Daily FT. 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  21. ^ Fernando, Lahiru (16 June 2017). "Entrepreneur Dulith Herath receives prestigious Eisenhower Foundation recognition". News 1st.
  22. ^ "National IT Conference honours pioneering innovator Dulith Herath with ICT Leader of the Year 2017". www.ft.lk. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-10-08.

External links[edit]