Lankan Angel Network & Angel Fund Appoint First Female Chairperson
The Lankan Angel Network (LAN), the country’s largest network of angel investors, has appointed Chandi Dharmaratne as its Chairperson for 2021/2022, at its most recent Board Meeting held in September. Ms. Dharmaratne is the first woman to lead the Lankan Angel Network.
As she steps into this role, Ms. Dharmaratne succeeds Mano Sekaram, Founder/CEO – 99x, who welcomed her by stating; “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Chandi to take the reins of LAN and the Angel Fund. She has been an important person in the LAN ecosystem, and I can think of no better person to lead the Angel Fund as it continues to focus on creating positive change for our communities, and for Sri Lanka.”
Currently serving as the Vice President of Human Resources at Virtusa, Ms. Dharmaratne is responsible for the company’s global HR automation strategy. With a career that began in New York, Ms. Dharmaratne returned to Sri Lanka and joined MAS Holdings, where she has held many leadership roles for over a decade. In 2013, she joined Virtusa as the Head of HR for the Sri Lanka geography. Since then, Ms. Dharmaratne has forged an award-winning, and much accoladed career.
She is passionate about developing employability skills amongst the youth of Sri Lanka as well as encouraging IT industry growth and brain gain. She spearheads projects on these themes via the many organizations in which she has held numerous leadership and board positions, including SLASSCOM, ICTA, AMCHAM, Association of Human Resource Professionals in Sri Lanka, USAID and AISEC. She has also been involved in multiple university collaborations, for example with the Universities of Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Peradeniya, etc., in order to bring industry requirements into our local curricula.
Additionally, Ms. Dharmaratne has been recognized in Echelon’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women in Sri Lanka” and, in 2019, was included in its “New Establishment 100,” wherein only the most innovative and influential young leaders succeeding in many different areas of business were recognized.
Prior to taking up her new role as Chairperson, Ms. Dharmaratne served as a Board Member of LAN since 2019.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms. Dharmaratne said, “I am excited to take on this appointment as the first woman to chair the Lankan Angel Network. This is a particularly interesting time where change is accelerated, and adaptability is mandatory, in order for us to take advantage of new opportunities. With the excellent support from the talented, and well-experienced, industry insiders who make up this year’s Board, I am confident that we will be able to drive Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem to new heights.”
It is also noteworthy that the 2021/2022 Board, as well as being led by a woman, comprises 30% female representation overall – a significantly higher percentage than other corporates in the country.
Joining Ms. Dharmaratne on the 2021/2021 LAN Board Members are: Anarkali Moonesinghe, former CEO – CIMB Sri Lanka; Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Co-Founder/Managing Partner – BOV Capital; Dumindra Ratnayake, Chairman – Martin & George; Adil Mansoor, CEO – Promo Lanka; Kasturi Wilson, Group CEO – Hemas Holdings; Nathan Sivaganathan, Co-Founder – Hatch; Jeevan Gnanam, Co-Founder – Hatch; Lahiru Pathmalal, Founder/CEO – Takas.lk; and Sharhan Muhseen, Director – H2O ONE/Chairman – Platinum Advisors (Singapore).
Additionally, LAN announced the 2021/2022 Board Members for its Rs. 100 million Angel Fund, which is also chaired by Ms. Dharmaratne. The Fund’s Board further comprises Anarkali Moonesinghe, Mano Sekaram, Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Dumindra Ratnayake, Suren Pinto, Founder and CEO – Wavenet Group, and Channa Manoharan, Chief Operating Officer/Advisory Leader – PwC Sri Lanka.
LAN is a platform for angel and private investors that invest in high growth early-stage Sri Lankan ventures. The platform’s Rs. 100 million Angel Fund continues to identify and evaluate opportunities for investment across the island, including in traditionally underserved regions.
With plans to ultimately invest in six to 10 high potential startups in total, gearing them up to scale domestically, and even internationally, the Angel Fund is dedicated to investing in, and mentoring and supporting, early-stage startups across multiple sectors; from making investments at the early stages, to even helping startups identify sources for future funding.