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Venture Engine gears for finale with 13 high profile investors joining the judging panel

Rajan Anandan
Rajan Anandan
As Venture Engine 2014 draws to a close, members of the Indian
Angel Network (IAN) arrive in Colombo to join a panel of judges comprising highly
respected members of the Lankan Angel Network (LAN).  The high profile panel brings a diverse range
of expertise to the selection process with 13 Indian angel investors participating.  The panel affords valuable overseas exposure
to the top 14 fundable companies irrespective of which ones are selected as the
winners.
“The more investors we attract to the program, the more
opportunity we create for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs,” said Prajeeth
Balasubramanium, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures. “The fact that we have
managed to garner the attention of such an impressive lineup of investors speaks
volumes of how far the program has come in the last three years, and how the
entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sri Lanka has grown and evolved,” he added.

Venugopal Sathyanarayana
Venugopal Sathyanarayana
Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures and IAN member, Rajan Anandan is
amongst the 13 angel investors who will be present at the Finale.  Anandan is an active investor in early stage
technology companies, and is currently a Vice President of Google, Inc. and Managing
Director of Google India.  He brings a
deep understanding of technology, first-hand experience working closely with
founding teams of startups and leading and growing several large technology
businesses in US and India.

Anandan is joined by Sunil Kalra, who has invested in over 20
companies across various sectors including Education, Real Estate, Internet and
Mobile.  An entrepreneur himself, Kalra’s
leather apparel business manufactured for brands such as Donna Karen, Ann Taylor,
Eddie Bauer and Next before he made a successful exit.
Founding Partner of the India Internet Group and Founder-CEO of
EkSMS.com, Anirudh Suri will also contribute to the judging panel.  A graduate of Harvard Kennedy School of
Government, Wharton School and the London School of Economics, Suri was selected
as a Goldman Sachs Global Leader in 2004 and named the Most Promising Young
Indian Professional by India Empire 2011.
Investment banker by trade, Steven Sule brings experience in M&A
activity within the TMT domain.  Sule’s experience
includes contributions to Yes Bank in Mumbai; Arma Partners, in London; and Mahindra
& Mahindra where he was an active member of its foray into the Aerospace
domain.
Currently spearheading the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at
the US$ 4 Bn Murugappa Group, Arun Venkatachalam, will also contribute towards
the judging process.  A former Investment
Banking Analyst, he is an active angel investor in South Asia based Startups.
Satveer Singh Thakral, Marketing Manager at Thakral Brothers
joins the panel at the finale.  The
Singaporean Consumer Electronics company has already invested in previous
Venture Engine finalist, Ridgecrest.
With 25 years at multi-national corporations in India and the Asia
Pacific, founder of AARK TechAccess, Rishi Srivastava brings rich experience in
general management, strategy, eco-system building and sales & marketing in
technology, for consumers and enterprise customers.
Rahul Khanna, Managing Director at Canaan Partners, India brings
eighteen years of operating and investing experience in Technology, Media and
Telecoms. Rahul has played a key role in the development of the venture capital
ecosystem in India and is an active investor.
Girish Anand Sobti is an entrepreneur and investor with
experience heading two SAP start-ups and the German software house IXOS for the
Asia-Pacific. Sobti’s expertise in turning businesses around under challenging
conditions will provide a source of learning to Venture Engine participants.
Features writer and news analyst at The Economic Times, Shelley
Singh contributes with extensive knowledge on the IT industry.  Singh has closely analysed the technology and
business services outsourcing wave and has co-authored a BPO book.
The judging panel will also include Murali Sundar, President
& CEO of Marcatus QED Inc. present in India, UK, Mexico, China and Canada.
Murali’s expertise in the global supply of agricultural products, has lead him
to design and implement several innovations. 
Sundar has also worked as a consultant for a number of Fortune 500
companies.
Venture Engine judge M. M. Murugappan, Vice Chairman, Corporate
and Supervisory Board, Murugappa Group, brings a wealth of high level
experience having served as chairman of several companies including Carborundum
Universal, Foskor Zirconia, Murugappa Morgan Thermal Ceramics, MEL Systems
& Services and Net Access India to name a few.
Serial entrepreneur and Vice President of the IAN, Venugopal
Sathyanarayana will complete the Venture Engine judge’s panel.  Sathyanarayana is the Founder & CEO of
Vengo Ventures, and has been actively investing, mentoring and advising
startups for over eight years.
Sponsored by Expolanka Holdings, Orion City & Dialog,
Venture Engine continues to enable and empower the vast entrepreneurial
potential in Sri Lanka. The 2014 edition sees 14 new businesses in the finale
poised to take the next step in their journey to success.

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