Dr. Cornelius Boersch confident in Sri Lanka as haven for Global Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors
Dr. Cornelius ‘Conny’ Boersch is the most active Tech-Investor in Europe; and the largest Venture Capitalist in Latin America.
Keen to promote the replication of proven, successful models and business ideas for implementation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka continues to have an untapped market, with very little risk for investors, given the potential of the market.
Dr Cornelius Boersch – European Business Angel of the Year (2009) and a Certified Super Angel by the European Investment Fund (EIF), during his first visit to Sri Lanka this year partook in a private event held on October 13, 2021 at Hatch Works in Colombo. The event which welcomed a limited number of guests, was broadcasted via Facebook Live for local and global audiences.
Conducted in partnership with Hatch Works, Lion ventures, and The Council for Startups, the event featured a conversation-style knowledge sharing session with Dr. Boersch, led by Founder, Veracity AI – Jeevan Gnanam, and was later joined by Co-Founder, Hatch Works – Nathan Sivaganathan and Managing GP, BOV Capital Ltd – Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, and was concluded with a Q&A session.
Speaking at the event, Dr Boersch noted “There is no shortage of knowledge, talent or passion in Sri Lanka. However, the biggest challenge I see here is the conservative mindset and the belief that the Sri Lankan market works differently compared to the rest of the world. When I started the largest food delivery company in Europe many people said that this model could not be applied to countries such as India and even Saudi Arabia, but we see that the food delivery companies are the most successful businesses in today’s market.
The world has become so similar that ideas that work in London and Berlin can also work in Colombo. Sri Lanka has one great advantage (although you may see this as negative), you are five years behind. This means you don’t have to make the same mistakes that others have, you can instead replicate models that have been tried and tested and developed to be successful. There are business models that can be applied to any market, and entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you have to create something new. I see the potential in Sri Lanka.”
General Partner, Lion Ventures – Love Yadav, the key personality behind the partnership with Dr. Cornelius Boersch, noted “As early stage investors we look for new opportunities and it is apparent that Sri Lanka is ideal where untapped potential is concerned. After successfully deploying capital for the first round of funding, Lion Ventures is closing in on its second round of funding wherein 60% of its capital will go towards venture build up ideas and the remaining 40% towards promising local startups that are easily scalable and globally transportable. I would like to thank the Board of investments and its Chairman Mr Sanjaya Mohottala who has played an integral role in the success of this trip”.
Dr Boersch spoke passionately about the need for replicating models proven for success in other markets, but adapting them to Sri Lanka’s market. Whilst his focus remains on developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sri Lanka, he also delved into the concept of changing the local mindset, and for serial entrepreneurs to take on the role of investors to help newer entrants. His three-day business tour of Sri Lanka included discussions with the Founders of promising startups, The Council of Startups, Port City commission; as well as private meetings with top business houses and a courtesy visit with the Minister of Youth & Sports and Development Coordination & Supervision – Namal Rajapaksa, where the future of Sri Lanka’s strategic digital revolution was discussed in depth. Acting in partnership with Lion Ventures – a private investment vehicle formed to make long term investments through a venture build up structure focussed on digital transformation and clean technology models Dr Boersch aims to fast-track his strategic goal of further developing Sri Lanka’s local market and its entrepreneurial prowess, as he is set to revolutionise Sri Lanka’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Investment Director, Mountain Partners – Jorge Perez Garcia concluded: “Sri Lanka is at the inflection point of digital disruption as the Sri Lankan Startup ecosystem is ready to bloom. During this short but insightful visit to its capital, Colombo, we have been inspired by the talent of founders and managers alike, as well as by the new measures that the government will put in place in the coming months to support entrepreneurship. We are clear this is a pivotal moment for the country; we have seen it many times in other countries around the World and we see the same starting in Sri Lanka. Together with our local partner, Lion Ventures, we are starting a journey to capture opportunities in the digital space through our Company Builder and Early Stage Fund. With them, we plan to nurture and boost the local talent, bring successful disruptive business models to the country and back some of the most promising local teams. We want to invite every family office, investor, manager and entrepreneur to join us in this exciting journey that will boost the country’s long-term economic growth and open the door to a brighter future for new generations to come.
As the founder of Mountain Partners AG and Conny & Co. AG, Dr Boersch has been an entrepreneur since 1990 and the founder of ACG AG, a leading company in the RFID market. He was also the Founder/ Chairman of Rocket Internet, a multi billion dollar global company. His global portfolio also includes space logistics and drone technology. (News release)
Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.
“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.
Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.
Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.
Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.
‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.
‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.
Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.
‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.
‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’
Share market moves into positive territory; indices up
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.
Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.
The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.
Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.
Ceylinco Life appoints new COO and Deputy COO to strengthen leadership pipeline
Ceylinco Life has announced the appointments of Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra as Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer respectively, following the creation of the two positions as part of the Company’s leadership pipeline for the next decade and beyond.
Abeynayake has been with Ceylinco Life for 25 years and is an Executive Director and the Company’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer, while Hemachandra has been with the Company for 23 years and is the General Manager – Marketing.
“These appointments add further strength and depth to the management structure and look at our leadership requirements for the next 10 to 15 years,” Ceylinco Life Chairman R. Renganathan said. “Transparent and long-term succession planning is extremely important in the financial services sector, ensuring seamless continuity and consistency for all stakeholders.”
Ceylinco Life Managing Director and CEO Thushara Ranasinghe added: “Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra have been part of the management team that achieved market leadership for Ceylinco Life in 2004 and maintained that leadership to this date, unbroken for 19 years. They represent the core values and the vision and mission of the Company, and will be fully supported by the Board of Directors and the management team as they are groomed for key leadership positions.”
A Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, Ranga Abeynayake counts over 25 years of experience in handling key management positions in the areas of Finance, Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Treasury Management and Project Planning. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Abeynayake previously served as Chairman/Non-Executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC., and currently serves as a Non-executive Director of Ceylinco Insurance PLC and as a Director of Serene Resorts Limited.
A Fellow (FCIM) and Chartered Marketer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – UK, and of the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) – Australia, Mr Samitha Hemachandra counts over 20 years of work experience in Brand Management, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Management and Strategic Planning. He has been directly involved in designing, developing and implementing many integrated marketing campaigns for Ceylinco Life. Mr Hemachandra holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Sydney – Australia. He is a past Chairman of the Marketing and Sales Forum of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and has been a member of the judging panel of the SLIM Brand Excellence awards for many years.
He is currently a Director of Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd., and a Non-executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB), which are subsidiary and associate companies of Ceylinco Life.
Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Service Brand of the Year’ by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and ‘Best Life Insurer in Sri Lanka’ by World Finance for the ninth consecutive year in 2022, Ceylinco Life was conferred the ‘Peoples Life Insurance Service Provider of the Year’ title at 2023 SLIM Kantar Peoples Awards for the 17th consecutive year. Ceylinco Life has been the country’s leading life insurer for more than half of the 35 years it has been in existence. The Company was also ranked the ‘Most Valuable Life Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ by Brand Finance and certified a ‘Great Workplace’ in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2022. Ceylinco Life has close to a million lives covered by active policies and provides innovative life insurance solutions which offer protection while de-risking the goals and ambitions of the Company’s policyholders.
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