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2 years, Rs. 200 million in funding, 12 start ups and counting

Ms. Charitha Abeyratne, Top 10 - Venture Engine 2013; Mr. Rajan Anandan, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures; Mr. Paddy Weerasekera, Head of Marketing, Corporate Communications & CSR, Expolanka Holdings; Mr. Jeevan Gnanam, CEO of Orion City; Mr. Jeremy Huxtable, Group Chief Officer, Dialog Enterprise; Ms. Padmaja Ruparel, President of the Indian Angel Network and Mr. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures address the gathering at the Venture Engine 2014 launch.
Ms. Charitha Abeyratne, Top 10 – Venture Engine 2013;
 Mr. Rajan Anandan, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures;
 Mr. Paddy Weerasekera, Head of Marketing, Corporate
Communications & CSR, Expolanka Holdings;
Mr. Jeevan Gnanam, CEO of Orion City;
Mr. Jeremy Huxtable, Group Chief Officer, Dialog Enterprise;
Ms. Padmaja Ruparel, President of the Indian Angel Network and
Mr. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder of Blue
 Ocean Ventures address
the gathering at the Venture Engine 2014 launch.

Venture Engine returns to empower aspiring entrepreneurs

Blue Ocean Ventures and the Indian Angel Network collaborate for
the third successive year to host Venture Engine 2014, a project aimed at
fostering entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. Over its brief two year duration,
the project has served as a springboard for 12 businesses, garnering Rs. 200
million in investment collectively. In addition to opening the door to
financial backing, Venture Engine provides startups with access to a
breadth of expertise in the form of workshops and mentoring sessions via Lankan
Angel Network (LAN) and the Indian Angel Network (IAN). 
Endorsing the event for the third consecutive year are platinum
sponsors Expolanka and Orion City and gold sponsor Dialog Axiata, organisations
consistently at the forefront of the Sri Lankan business arena.
Venture Engine is run, mentored and filtered by Lankan Angel
Network, Sri Lanka’s first alliance of angel investors.

Mr Prajeeth Balasubramaniam Co Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures addresses the audience.jpg
Mr. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam Co-Founder of Blue Ocean
Ventures addresses the audience.jpg

The competition is open to owners of startup businesses and
aspiring entrepreneurs. An open call for business plans was officially launched
on the 29th of April and the close of submissions is scheduled for May 26th,
after which a rigorous selection process will ensue. A panel of potential local
and overseas investors will review business plans of applicants, selecting a
minimum of 20 applications to move on to the second pitch round, and provide
valuable critique and insight during this segment of the process.

The top applicants benefit from valuable opportunities to enrich
their business plans through a series of workshops and one to one mentoring
sessions with successful local and international investors. These entrepreneurs
will make a final pitch to a panel of local and international investors with
the most exceptional business plans announced at a finale.
“A
salient feature of Venture Engine is that the entrepreneur is granted the
opportunity to pitch directly to the investors. The selected candidates are
mentored by LAN and IAN, and there is no ceiling on funds made available
through the angel group. Thus any fundable start-up in the top ten has a good opportunity to gain the required investment to set up and expand their
company,” explained Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, Blue Ocean
Ventures.
2 years, Rs. 200 million in funding, 12 start ups and counting
2 years, Rs. 200 million in funding, 12 start ups and counting

“We
were charting new territory in 2012 when we launched the first Venture Engine
programme. With foreign investors eager to capitalise on post war growth and
budding entrepreneurs looking to spread their wings, the need for an effective start-up ecosystem was identified. Over the last two years we have witnessed an
impressive display of talent and drive, reinforcing our decision to launch
Venture Engine in Sri Lanka.
“The
success of start-ups from the last two events has seen our investor base expanding. Sustainability is key and Venture Engine’s role effectively extends
beyond the immediate capital infusion. Our team of  mentors continue to provide insight and
guidance after the new ventures are underway,” added Balasubramaniam.
“Venture
Engine is a unique initiative. It has inspired entrepreneurship and also driven
angel investing in Sri Lanka. Year on year, it has brought critical money and
mentoring to young Sri Lankan entrepreneurs. IAN is proud to have helped found
Lankan Angel Network, partnered VE and brought in investors from around the
world to the island nation,” said Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel
Network.
“From
simple beginnings as a small fruit and vegetable exporter in Dam Street,
Expolanka has risen to a diversified
conglomerate ranked amongst the top ten business entities in Sri Lanka with a
global footprint across 18 countries. Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone upon
which our success is built and we understand the challenges of venturing out on
new territory. We see immense value in the exposure and guidance VE provides
its participants and its cascading effect on the economy,” stated Hanif Yusoof,
Group CEO, Expolanka.
“Innovation
and entrepreneurship are such fundamental principles of the IT industry that
the terms have almost become synonymous. The most significant technological
advancements have been brought about by entrepreneurs with marketable ideas and
unwavering drive. Without platforms such as VE, we run the costly risk of these
ideas never reaching realization. Orion City, once a startup itself,
understands this need and is committed to developing the Sri Lankan IT sector.
Furthering this goal, we are excited to announce the launch of Orion Nest, a
dedicated facility for start-ups,” emphasised Jeevan Gnanam, CEO/Director of
Orion City.
“The
Venture Engine amply demonstrates the value creation potential of a synergistic
platform which brings together Innovation, Risk Capital and Domain Expertise.
World over, Venture capital has proven to be an essential ingredient in driving
innovation and national competitiveness. Dialog is privileged to be a partner
in the Venture Engine competition for the third successive year and it is
particularly rewarding to note that within a short space of two years, the
Venture Engine programme has succeeded in seeding several business ventures
which are globally competitive,” said Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, Group Chief Executive
of Dialog Axiata PLC.
Venture
Engine has made substantial headway not just in facilitating startups, but in
creating general interest in entrepreneurial ventures amongst investors and
potential candidates.

Information
on the programme, previous years’ events, and past participants are available
on the project website www.ventureengine.lk. Application process information
and resources are also available on the website with entries accepted on
submissions@ventureengine.lk. Further assistance will be provided on contacting
inquiries@ventureengine.lk.

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