October, 31, 2018
Now in its 7th consecutive year, Sri Lanka's pioneering entrepreneurship program Venture Engine kicks off this week with applications opening for a six-week period starting November 1, 2018 onward.
To be held over an intensive six to seven weeks between January and mid-February 2019, the seventh consecutive Venture Engine hopes to attract new business ideas (early stages), as well as Seed and Growth stage startups looking to fast-track growth. Visit www.ventureengine.lk or call 0777039889 to learn more about the application criteria and process for this year's program.
During its 2018/2019 cycle, Venture Engine is looking to attract scalable, innovative ventures that aim to solve burning issues in frontier markets, including Sri Lanka, with the potential to expand regionally or internationally.
Commenting on the launch of the 2018 Venture Engine entrepreneurship program, Lankan Angel Network Chairman Mano Sekaram said, "We are pleased to once again launch Venture Engine, this time for the seventh consecutive year. Continuing to draw yearly interest from a pool of prominent local and foreign investors, Venture Engine remains the Gold Standard when it comes to programs that support entrepreneurs, both in preparing them for the ground realities as well paving the way for their future successes by aligning them with the correct local, regional and global networks.”
While startups in their ideation stage will be considered for entry into the 2018 Venture Engine entrepreneurship program, greater prominence will be placed on ventures with a proven viability.
More than anything else, a high premium will be placed on the strength and the expertise of the founding team, which often contributes heavily to a startup's success, “Great Ideas without proper execution go nowhere, so Lankan Angel Network investors are keen to work with agile and competent founders, with excellent drive and leadership skills, who are capable of being coached to take their startups forward with the right guidance,” noted Mr. Sekaram.
Participants of Venture Engine will go through several rounds of filtering where they will pitch their business plans to a panel of experienced investors and industry specialists including members of the Lankan Angle Network and invitees from the wider startup ecosystem. Concurrently, participants will also go through intense workshop sessions in key areas of concern, from preparing an investor friendly business plan and valuations, to product-market fit, financial and legal planning and even analysis of case studies.
“As a facilitator and enabler of entrepreneurship, we will ensure that every entrepreneur and business that goes through the Venture Engine program gains from their experience with a plenty of useful feedback being given,” added Mr. Sekaram.
It is further noteworthy that this years Venture Engine program will, for the third consecutive year, feature a very special category highlighting for-profit Social Enterprises, which is once again awarded by Indian Venture Capital firm Aavishkaar, the title sponsor for the seventh edition of this program. Local startup incubation and acceleration platform HATCH and Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunications services provider Dialog Axiata PLC are also sponsors.
"Over the last seven years, we have continually helped advance Sri Lanka's startup ecosystem to the point where we now see as almost as many wanting to grow internationally as those wanting to make their mark locally. It is also telling that Venture Engine was, in 2014, honored at the Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards (AREA), where the focus is on businesses that pioneer sustainable and responsible entrepreneurship, which only reinforces the value the program has created in the last few years," commented Mr. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, a Founder of Venture Engine and the Lankan Angel Network, and General Partner at BOV Capital.
Since its beginnings in 2012, Venture Engine has been Sri Lanka’s most successful platform for accelerating and expanding the country’s most promising entrepreneurial ideas. In fact, to date, hundreds of Sri Lankan start-ups have utilized the Venture Engine platform over the past 6 years to fine-tune and accelerate their entrepreneurial efforts, as well as to help secure financial support via prominent start-up investors such as the Lankan Angel Network, Sri Lanka’s largest network of business angel investors
In 2017, Venture Engine witnessed some of the most promising local startups in the history of the program, with participation from regional & global investors opening huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to network and connect with international investors, entrepreneurs and mentors, with startups like Roar Media (2017s' winner), Insureme.lk, Igniter Space and India's Pregbuddy going on to secure funding and support to further accelerate their ventures.
To date, the Venture Engine program has showcased some of Sri Lanka's top fundable startups including Simplex Delivery, Takas.lk, ZigZag.lk Direct2Door, Plushbox, Quebee Den, OMAK Technologies, Saraii Village, Extrogene, House of Lonali, Glitteray, IntelloCut, and 24-7 Techies.
Last year's Venture Engine was held in conjunction with the Asian Business Angel Forum (ABAF), Asia’s largest annual Angel investor gathering. Through this collaboration, it also acted as an unprecedented conduit for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to gain access to a broader network of investors, expertise and mentors from some of the Asia’s most prominent investors via the ABAF platform.
The main organizer of Venture Engine, the Lankan Angel Network is Sri Lanka’s pioneering Business Angel Network. It has collectively invested over Rs. 2.2 billion in 30 + startups. Venture Engine was founded by BOV Capital and the Indian Angel Network.