Chalinda Dilesh Weerasinghe

Chalinda Dilesh Weerasinghe is a senior economist at the Alaska Department Of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, were he works as a commercial analyst. In 2023, Weerasinghe co-founded Equilibria Group Inc., a technology company currently developing its first three projects. 

1. Why are you passionate about this work?

When I co-founded Equilibria, conceived as an Alaska tech incubator, we had a vision to change the world and to have a meaningful impact through our product offerings and ideas.

My co-founders and I are techies and futurists, but more importantly, idealists at heart. We resolved to infuse our enthusiasm, idealism, and creativity into our projects. We are currently developing three products at Equilibria. I am grateful and proud to be working with a team composed of my friends, most of whom I have known for decades, some of whom I consider my family.

I am passionate about collaborating with them to create technology applications that help people make positive changes to their lives while advancing knowledge and awareness. I am equally excited about the opportunity to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations in the most exhilarating place I have ever lived in, Alaska.

I look forward to Alaska being a tech hub and Equilibria potentially being an instrumental part of this development.

2. What was the most challenging aspect of starting a business, and how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge of starting a business was finding the impetus and the structure to begin organizing. Initially, this challenge had three main aspects: the logistics, company vision, and product creation. I was able to address and overcome these challenges only because I had great co-founders. Regarding logistics, it greatly helped that my main co-founder, David, had already figured out the logistics of Equilibria.

Once Equilibria's initial logistical and regulatory aspects were sorted out, the next aspect involved creating a vision for the organization. Since we already had three ideas to focus our development efforts on, we decided that Equilibria should be a tech incubator with the governing and leadership structure reflecting this vision. David and I thought of ourselves as serial entrepreneurs, and we wanted Equilibria to be a tech incubator in Alaska and Alaska to be a tech hub. As such, we would create and launch products under Equilibria, which would then be spun off as their own companies at suitable times. There were many hours of conversation and brainstorming involved. These efforts finally led us to develop three different products with a few synergies between them but also possibly possessing different paths for project realization.

There is something to be said for pursuing ideas from their inception, the excitement that comes from creating your own vision without knowing whether there is market potential there. We spent and still spend countless hours refining and extending project descriptions and whitepapers, especially as we pursue multiple paths to project development concurrently, such as patent acquisition, customer and market discovery, and conversations with development partners.

3. How does your company use technology?

We are primarily a software technology company whose products also have hardware applications. We are currently developing three products tentatively named Marketplace for Healthy Choices, SimCorp, and AIMS!

Marketplace is a more straightforward hosting platform, while SimCorp is an innovative, multi-platform, immersive analytical environment for business. AIMS! is an innovative health and wellness score platform that uses AI and smart contracts to incentivize behavior changes. With these three products, we are advancing several technologies in their applications while enabling theoretical innovations to aid the patenting processes. All three products have hardware implications, with SimCorp specifically utilizing them.

Our company includes a mostly tech-driven team with information, computation, engineering, medical, financial, and other technological expertise, and we use technology for all aspects of our company operations. We have yet to start development for any of the projects. To this end, we have commenced conversations with engineering and design studio partners. We will build and extend our development team internally as we engage investment and capital.

4. How did your IAC degree help you succeed?

My degrees from IAC enabled me to get into the University of Maryland, College Park's Economics and Government and Politics doctoral programs with research fellowships. My training at IAC helped me develop very deep and broad analytical skills. I also learned how to bring those skills to bear on problem sets I encounter.

Even though I did not pursue an academic career, the strong foundation I received from IAC helped me initially as a consultant, later as a senior technical expert, and in my current career as a senior economist. This foundation is also helping me in my company and the products I am creating with my team.

One of the most profound lessons I learned from IAC was that it was hard to do good social science because of the intricacies of human behaviors and outcomes. Therefore, one has to be very creative and imaginative when doing so. One also has to have a solid ethical foundation.

These are lessons that I took deeply to heart and have tried to practice and implement in my research, career work, and now my company. Most of all, my teachers were inspirational and instilled in me a love of learning, critical thinking, and inquiring. I consider them splendid role models and my friends.

5. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs at Ivan Allen College?

I am not sure whether I am qualified to impart entrepreneurial advice, but there are at least four main lessons that I have learned on my journey thus far. Admittedly, some of them might be unexpected:

  1. Your character and who you are matters in business and life. It is important to develop strength of character, determination, persistence, and resilience in life, and these qualities will help you immensely on your path as an entrepreneur.
  2. It is vital to surround yourself with colleagues and team members you know and trust. Trust is as important as skill and ability.
  3. Including those who think differently from you and have the expertise to challenge you is important. This will make you a better person as well as a better entrepreneur. Do not underestimate the benefits of having dissenting voices in your team who can point out your blind spots and offer alternatives.
  4. Be stubborn in your pursuits but also open and flexible to make adjustments as necessary.

Conviction and passion will be good motivators, especially when setbacks and stagnation occur. Keep your eyes on the long term and your hopes and visions for your company. 

Chalinda Dilesh Weerasinghe graduated with master's degrees in Economics and International Affairs in 2003. See more profiles of our alumni founders!

Profile Type
M.S. Economics, M.S. International Affairs
Job Title / Employer
Co-founder, Equilibria Group, Inc.