The Angel Fund, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, has shortlisted its five early-stage startups for potential investment; Niftron, Traccular, Medica, Soulboner Clothing, and Ophir. This follows an intense application and selection process, spanning September, October and November 2020, which initially attracted 80 applications.
The Angel Fund, launched earlier this year by the Lankan Angel Network (LAN), was established with the support of ecosystem development partner Ford Foundation to catalyze the growth of Sri Lankaâ€™s startup ecosystem.
Comprising 100 angel investors, including many high-profile entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, who represent more than a dozen sectors with proven competencies in over 20 functional domains, the Angel Fund is also distinct in that it features 20% of its investment from members based out of Canada, Dubai, Hongkong, Qatar, UK, and the USA. The process was guided by the Fundâ€™s high-profile Investment Committee (IC) consisting of Angel Fund members Dumith Fernando, Chairman of Colombo Stock Exchange, Chairman of Asia Securities, Dumindra Ratnayaka, Chairman, Senior Consultant at Martin & George.
The IC also comprises Nathan Sivagananathan, Co-Founder of Hatch Works; Anarkali Moonesinghe, former CEO of CIMB Sri Lanka; Mangala Karunaratne, Founder, CEO of Calcey Technologies; and Imal Kalutotage, Founder, CEO of NCINGA. Joining them as Independent IC Member is Shiluka Goonewardene, Principal â€“ Deal Advisory â€“ KPMG.
Angel Fund IC member Dumith Fernando stated, â€œThe investment approval process for the Angel Fund was quite robust with seasoned experts from varied backgrounds participating in the Investment Committee. We were encouraged by the quality of the shortlisted startups that presented to us. We set a high bar for investment selection this time. And even among those founders who did not gain funding this quarter, we found several who would be investable with some tweaks to their business models and plan.â€
The top five shortlisted startups were: Niftron (A Blockchain-as-a-Service platform). Traccular â€“ (A cloud-based IoT-enabled visitor management system), Medica (A cloud-based patient and prescription management platform), Soulboner Clothing (A fun, casual Sri-Lankan streetwear line made for GenZ and the young Millennial) and Ophir (A brand focusing on a range of chemical and synthetic-free, all-natural body care and spa products).
Independent IC Member Shiluka Goonewardene said, â€œThe finalists for evaluation by the committee were all startups with good ideas and opportunities. The varied experience of the IC members enabled us to evaluate and shortlist the best participants for the funding stage. Overall, it was a great learning experience for me as well, listening to the presentations of the finalists and the follow-up discussions among the IC members.â€