A local competition that pairs local entrepreneurs with venture capitalists has already resulted in funding for two Sri Lankan companies, online multi-brand electronics store Takas and outsourcing industry trainer Lanka BPO Academy, while as many as six more ideas may still get funding.
There is as much as Rs. 100 million in venture capital available to be divided up amongst the eight ideas progressing to the contest's finale, according to organisers. Commenting to the Business Times, on the sidelines of this event, Venture Engine, which concluded its first round last week, angel investor Blue Ocean Ventures Managing Director Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, noted: "We were overwhelmed by the number of business plans received by the cut-off date of 11th May 2011. We filtered the top 20 and asked them to deliver a two minute pitch on the 19th of May. After evaluating the entrepreneurs we filtered it down further to 11. We had a workshop for these 11 on the 26th of May". He also noted that the shortlisted 10 were from a total of 70 initial applicants.
Further, he also added: "We initially decided that the top five will go into the finale, but after today's amazing presentations, the investor panel felt that we should look at more than five at the final. Two of these companies (Takas.lk and Lanka BPO) will be funded this week. We are still evaluating the others and hopefully end up funding at least five to seven of these entrepreneurs by the 20th of June".
However, Mr. Balasubramaniam also suggested that the "finale will be on the 20th of June and as indicated at the launch the prizes for the top three will be insignificant compared to the funding they will receive".
Additionally revealed, the top 10 shortlisted included: micro, small and medium business technical support provider 24/7 Techies (by Eureka founder Dilendra Wimlasekere who is also involved with Takas); adventure company Wild Trails (Krishan Senatna); smart phone cab tracker YAMU (Indi Samarajiva); Handlooms by Nithya and House of Lonali (Academy of Design students); mobile phone music game SWARA, entertainment guide What's Up Lanka, Wedding Wish List and Trekurious.