Venture Engine invests close to a million dollars in 10 Sri lankan startups

The Sri Lankan ecosystem has seen some uprising startup activity in the last couple of years. Prajeeth Balasubramanian and Rajan Anandan founded Blue Ocean Ventures has been at the forefront in terms of providing support to the startups along with the Indian Angel Network. In a recent announcement, Venture Engine which is a project by BOV and IAN, has invested $750k in ten Sri Lankan startups. Read the complete interview with Prajeeth to know about the Sri Lankan ecosystem and here is the list of startups followed by a conversation about the startups:

VE

Already Funded

1) Saraii village hotel

2) Gliteray (Jewellery space)

3) Nithyarn (Funded round 1 via VE 2012, round 2 completed in 2013)

4) House of Lonali (Funded round 1 via VE 2012, round 2 completed in 2013)

5) Push Skateboards

In the process of getting funded

6) Ridgecrest

7) Red cocoon

8) Ace of Clubs (Digital music composer in concept stage)

Decision Pending

9) School for children with learning disability

10) whodat

Here are excerpts from the conversation with Prajeeth:

YS: What are the strengths of the companies that VE has invested in?

PB: The greatest strength lies in the entrepreneurs ability. The selected business also had a unique concept. Eg Nithya uses the local hand loom and empowers the rural community, Saraii and Wild trails are eco sustainable hotels and again empowers the rural communities. Glitteray promotes Sri Lankan Gemstones with unique designs. Redcocoon and Lonali are both eco sustainable designer clothing. Lanka BPO has a first mover advantage.

2) For the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem, what would your word of advice be to the entrepreneurs?

PB: We look for the following in all startups:
- A good Business Plan
- Uniqueness of product or service offered
- Marketability of product or services offered
- Good financial forecast

The Entrepreneurs should have their skin in the game as it is high risk. They should have the following traits

-willingness to take risks
- Marketing, negotiating, selling skills (communication)
- Financial know-how
- Self motivation and Positive attitude

Most importantly the working relationship should be based on trust.

Here is more and the website: Venture Engine


Jubin Mehta

Jubin Mehta

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he has written about more than 1000 startups. With an engineering background and a keen interest in data analysis, his passion for writing and entrepreneurship makes him a perfect match for Yourstory. He operates from the mountains in Dharamshala where he also runs a hackbase. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at jubin@yourstory.com