Skip to main content
Our Stories

WNY Trailblazers

We’re lucky that in Western New York we have many people working and blazing trails to build a better Buffalo. TechBuffalo in partnership with Be in Buffalo, 43North, Aleron, and Forge Buffalo launched a series highlighting Trail Blazers in our WNY community who are making a difference in tech, the start-up community, and bringing talent to WNY.

Kanishka Wanninayaka is the Founder & CEO of YAMU Media, a digital marketing agency focused on transparency and authenticity. Kanishka joined us this week to talk about his experience founding a start-up and his experiences in the Buffalo community.

What made you interested in scaling your business in Buffalo?
The things that interested me in Buffalo were things that I stumbled upon accidentally. Through co-founding a tech start-up (Aviate Audio) at the University of Buffalo, I was exposed to the entrepreneurial support system in the university, and the door opened to the start-up community. The welcoming nature of these communities plus the mentorship, resources, and raw talent of this city were key factors to my decision to start another company (Yamu Media) and scale in Buffalo. The main factor above all was finding a team with passion and purpose to match mine.

What do you love most about Buffalo? 
What I love most about Buffalo is the quality of relationships that can be formed. People here embody a love of place and a prioritization of family unlike anything I’ve experienced in Dubai and Sri Lanka. Buffalo provides the freedom and opportunities to choose your own pace of growth.

What do you see the Buffalo tech ecosystem looking like in a few years? 
I believe the Buffalo tech ecosystem is currently on a path of compounding growth as the seeds of a vibrant startup community have taken root. The frequency and size of startup teams are growing, and in a few years, I believe there is going to be a tech boom as the early-stage companies mature and gather momentum. As we move toward this future, I’d love for the tech community and mentor network to be more accessible to entrepreneurs who have drive and passion.

What is some advice you would give to those wanting to enter the technology field?

  1. Secrets are no longer locked away—Google everything!
  2. Nobody got to where they are without asking for help. Those same people are itching to repay the favour. Put yourself out there and ask.
  3. Give it a try. The worst that can happen is you were wrong.

What are you most thankful for?
I’m most thankful for my partner, who is my personal support system and allows me to pursue rapid growth, as well as the family-like bonds I’ve built with my team and mentors.


Thanks Kanishka for joining us! Make sure you follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter for more #WNYTrailblazers.