October, 11, 2014
Lankan Angel Network partnered start-up competition spurred to greater heights by Rs. 1 million funding to be provided by Blue Ocean Ventures
The 2014 Yarl Geek Challenge (YGC) start-up competition, now partnered by the Lankan Angel Network, is already showing more than double the number of previous entries, with entries for the junior category yet to close. Currently, this third installment of YGC has elicited 25 entries, for the senior category, from all over Sri Lanka, while the junior section has gotten 30 to date, with the juniors set to close on October 15, 2014. In contrast, last year's YGC featured just 10 senior and 11 junior teams.
Following this already successful entry period, the next step for the 2014 YGC is the “Extended Hackathon” and selection rounds, to be held in Jaffna, and scheduled for October 31 and November 1 and 2, for the senior category, and October 31 and November 1, for the junior category. Further, the YGC Finale will be held on November 22 in Colombo.
One of the main reasons for the increasing popularity of this competition is undoubtedly the unprecedented Rs. 1 million funding put up by Lankan Angel Network founder Blue Ocean Ventures, for the Hackathon portion of the competition. Said Balathasan Sayanthan of Yarl IT Hub, "The new format of the of YGC, its evolution from a simple business plan competition to requiring a working prototype, in addition to the Rs.1 million for the Hackathon winner, has gone a long way in revitalizing the start-up culture in Jaffna. In terms of the YGC, this milestone means it will be the first time a start-up will get funded in the north.”
An increase in entries is also attributable to the successful YGC Introductory Session, held on September 20, 2014, wherein more than 100 attendees benefitted from presentations facilitated by the competition's mentoring and funding partner Lankan Angel Network, which was additionally supported by Dialog's Idea Mart, 99x Technologies, hSenid, WSO2 and Creative Solutions, along with digital media partner ReadMe.lk. At the same time, Dialog’s Idea Mart is also rewarding the team with the best prototype developed using the Idea Mart application programming interfaces (APIs).
Commenting, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Managing Partner of Blue Ocean Ventures, said, "Blue Ocean Ventures are proud to be offering funding of Rs. 1 million to help start up the winning company at the Yarl Geek Challenge start-up competition, which will probably be the largest amount of funding to date for any Jaffna-based start-up. Blue Ocean Ventures together with Lankan Angel Network will also continue to mentor and fund any viable start ups through this programme. This is in line with our vision of ‘empowering entrepreneurs across Sri Lanka’, essentially seeking out investment opportunities irrespective of geography or any other type of boundary. Further proven by our current track record of having funded 20 start-ups across a number of districts of Sri Lanka.”
The pioneer in angel investments locally, the Lankan Angel Network has also already funded dozens of start-ups to date, in excess of Rs.400 million in investments. Funded start-ups encompass sectors as diverse as IT, hotels, travel, restaurants, apparel and textiles, sporting goods, education, etc. Lankan Angel Network is the principal organiser of popular start-up funding competition Venture Engine, which recently witnessed the successful conclusion of its third iteration, which featured the top 14 ranked start-ups being funded.