Currently, LAN and the Angel Fund is enabling Chakra Suthra, Mintpay and Magicbit to scale both within Sri Lanka and abroad
Sri Lanka’s first Angel Fund completed funding rounds for Chakra Suthra and Mintpay as of its most recent operational quarter. Further, the Fund aided a third startup, Magicbit, in growing its team and setting up a new local office, from which it has shipped to 38 countries so far.
Most important of all, Chakra Suthra, Mintpay and Magicbit. being the most recent additions to the Angel Fund portfolio, have each started to scale as a result of the access to funding, mentoring and international markets developed via the Lankan Angel Network (LAN) and its global partners. This is despite a number of challenges being thrown up by the many shocks Sri Lanka’s economy has faced since March 2022.
According to LAN, and the Angel Fund, Chairperson Chandi Dharmaratne, “LAN is excited to be funding these high potential Sri Lankan startups and we will continue to support and mentor these founders to scale their companies into global platforms. In the midst of the current economic situation in Sri Lanka, it is definitely reassuring to see our entrepreneurs continuing to stay resilient and playing a key role in the resuscitation of the economy.”
An AI-based platform that allows consumers to purchase goods online and pay later in interest-free instalments, Mintpay has grown from being a startup to becoming the preferred Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payments partner for leading retailers, entering into strategic partnerships with leading merchants in Sri Lanka including Softlogic, Abans, Ministry of Crab, Cool Planet and Nolimit. Having captured the Fashion and Beauty retail vertical in Sri Lanka, Mintpay, which is now headquartered in Singapore, hopes to extend its services across other industry verticals such as travel and dining. “The traction we’ve gained thus far in Sri Lanka has given us the confidence to accelerate our regional expansion efforts and also tap into new business verticals,”
revealed Mintpay’s CEO Urmila Chandrasekeram.
Mintpay’s recent crowning as the winner of Venture Engine’s 2021/2022 cohort has also drawn the attention of many global VCs, which has resulted in significant advance interest in the company’s the next round of funding.
Chakra Suthra, another Angel Fund portfolio company, is a technology startup dedicated to developing innovative solutions to waste problems, with a vision of achieving zero waste for every home and business in Sri Lanka. Chakra Suthra launched the unique concept of Trash2Cash in 2021. This was in the form of an interactive smart machine that allowed customers to deposit plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans and cartons and earn credit with it being redeemable against your bill at partner supermarkets. The collected plastics get upcycled into polyester yarn, recycled garments or into household products in partnership with other recycling partners, while other materials collected also underwent upcycling and/or recycling.
Helped along by the completion of a funding round led by the Angel Fund, the Trash2Cash platform is currently in the early phases of an island-wide roll-out. “We have identified the problems and bottlenecks in Sri Lanka’s recycling industry and have begun addressing these pain points. In doing so, we introduced the one and only recycling platform allowing consumers to monetize their packaging. Our goal is to revolutionize the recycling landscape of Sri Lanka and the region. We believe the timing is right to introduce innovative technology into recycling efforts, and more importantly that the Sri Lankan consumer is now ready for a mindset change,” commented Chakra Suthra’s CEO Himesh Fernando.
Meanwhile, Magicbit became the national winner of SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards 2022 as “Startup of the Year”. It also took its international successes to the next level by partnering with organizations in Japan, Sudan and Ghana. According to the company’s CEO Migara Amithodhana, “Magicbit was launched during a global pandemic and we are developing the company during a recession. Although the conditions are not 100% favorable, Magicbit is steadily growing as a business focusing more on foreign markets.”
It is also noteworthy that Magicbit started a free IoT Code Club with participation over 100 students in partnership with Techkids.lk.
Established in 2020 by LAN, and supported by ecosystem development partner the Ford Foundation, the Angel Fund aims to catalyze the growth of Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem.
Evaluating startups on a monthly basis, the Angel Fund is dedicated to backing early-stage startups across multiple sectors. It supports them in various ways, from making investments, to even helping startups identify sources for future funding. It also provides centralized services such as company secretaries, accounting and auditing for all its startups. This ensures all startups meet proper governance standards, which will certainly help their future funding rounds.
Created by LAN, which started this journey by funding and mentoring startups in 2012, the Angel Fund supports high potential startups that can be scaled across the country, and even regionally and globally. LAN is a platform for angel and private investors who invest in high growth early-stage Sri Lankan ventures with the aim of creating an impact by reducing inequality. With over 100 local and global angel investors already attached, the Angel Fund is unprecedented in Sri Lanka due to the fact that 20% of its investments come from members based in Canada, Dubai, Hong Kong, Qatar, UK and USA.
The Angel Fund is currently still open, and prioritizes evaluating opportunities for investments across the island. Interested parties are encouraged to learn more by visiting http://www.lankanangelnetwork.com/angel-fund or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, to discover funding and mentorship opportunities.