Lankan Angel Network channels investments up to Rs. 150 million into four home-grown startups
The Morning: Angel Fund Lankan Angel Network (LAN) has, to date, channelled investments up to Rs. 150 million cumulatively into four home-grown startups – Niftron, Magicbit, Mintpay, and ChakraSuthra – while also helping these companies scale and access new markets both at home and abroad.
“Since August 2020, our team has evaluated over 400 startups from across the country. It’s important to note that most of these startups come from outside the Colombo District. And over a period leading up to the end of last year, the prevalence of women-led startups has increased from 8% in 2020 to 15% in 2021. Currently, we’re monitoring and doing the final due diligence on five to 10 startups. We hope to back a few more before September,” commented LAN Chairperson Chandi Dharmaratne.
The Angel Fund portfolio comprises Niftron, a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, and Magicbit, an easy-to-use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education platform. Further, “buy now, pay later” platform Mintpay was added recently, while circular economy recycling concept ChakraSuthra is in the process of being added to the fund’s portfolio.
Along with its investment, the fund has supported Niftron in securing customers in Africa and Japan.
Meanwhile, Magicbit has provided assistance in terms of forming partnerships in Sri Lanka and Nepal, while the fund is also working towards helping Magicbit’s launch in China and the US.
At the same time, the fund has helped Mintpay expand into other vertices, covering dining, travel, and entertainment, and ChakraSuthra has been supported in strengthening its expansion strategy.
Evaluating startups on a monthly basis, the Angel Fund is dedicated to backing early-stage startups across multiple sectors. It supports them in various ways, from making investments to even helping startups identify sources for future funding. It also provides centralised services such as company secretaries, accounting, and auditing for all its startups. This ensures all startups meet proper governance standards, which will certainly help their future funding rounds.
Additionally, for 2022, the fund is planning a series of matching events to connect its startups with potential customers as well as international partners.
Investment decisions are made by an Investment Committee (IC) with experience in building, running, scaling, and exiting businesses locally as well as globally. The IC meets once a month to evaluate potential startups for funding. The IC includes LAN Board Member Anarkali Moonesinghe and Business Consultant Dumindra Ratnayake, as well as Hatch Works Co-Founder Nathan Sivagananathan, Calcey Technologies Founder/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mangala Karunaratne, NCINGA Founder/CEO Imal Kalutotage, and KPMG Principal for Deal Advisory Shiluka Goonewardene.
Sri Lanka’s expanding economy has opened up space for many start ups in the country. The ongoing development programme and the positioning of the country as a growing business destination in the region have helped boost Sri Lanka’s attraction as a country with an increasing business potential. With the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as concessions enjoyed by the country, Sri Lanka poses an ideal business destination. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore the possibility of forming partnerships or joint ventures with the fast growing start ups in Sri Lanka to expand operations into foreign markets.
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