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Sri Lanka’s first Angel Fund channels Rs. 150 mln into tech start-ups

Sri Lanka’s first Angel Fund has, to date, channelled investments totalling up to Rs. 150 million to four home-grown start- ups – Niftron, Magicbit, Mintpay and Chakra Suthra – while also helping these companies scale and access new markets both at home and abroad.

“Since August 2020, our team has evaluated over 400 start-ups from across the country. It’s important to note that most of these start-ups come from outside the Colombo District.

And over a period leading up to the end of last year, the prevalence of women-led start-ups has increased from 8 per cent in 2020, to 15 per cent in 2021. Currently, we’re monitoring and doing the final due diligence on 5-10 start-ups. We hope to back a few more before September,” said Chandi Dharmaratne, Chairperson of the Lankan Angel Network (LAN) in a media release issued by LAN.

Established in 2020 by LAN, and supported by ecosystem development partner the Ford Foundation, the Angel Fund aims to catalyse the growth of Sri Lanka’s start-up ecosystem.

The Angel Fund is currently still open, and prioritises evaluating opportunities for investments across the island.

The Angel Fund portfolio comprises Niftron, a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, and Magicbit, an easy-to-use STEM education platform. Further, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ platform Mintpay was added recently, while circular economy recycling concept Chakra Suthra 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 been assisted in forming partnerships in Sri Lanka and Nepal, while 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 Chakra Suthra has been supported in strengthening its expansion strategy.

Evaluating start-ups on a monthly basis, the Angel Fund is dedicated to backing early-stage start-ups across multiple sectors.

It supports them in various ways, from making investments, to even helping start-ups identify sources for future funding. It also provides centralised services such as company secretaries, accounting and auditing for all its start-ups.

This ensures all start-ups meet proper governance standards, which will certainly help their future funding rounds.

Comprising 100 local and global angel investors, many of whom were attracted via LAN’s extensive global partnerships, the Angel Fund is unprecedented in Sri Lanka because 20 percent of its investments come from members based out of Canada, Dubai, Hong Kong, Qatar, UK and the US.

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