Business

Chandi Dharmaratne appointed Lankan Angel Network Chairperson

  • Succeeds Mano Sekaram of 99x

Lankan Angel Network (LAN) has appointed Chandi Dharmaratne as its Chairperson for 2021/2022, becoming the first woman to lead the LAN, at its most recent Board meeting held in September.

As she steps into this role, Dharmaratne succeeds 99x Founder/CEO Mano Sekaram, 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 Virtusa Vice President – Human Resources, Dharmaratne is responsible for the company’s global HR automation strategy. With a career that began in New York, 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, Dharmaratne has forged an award-winning and much accoladed career.

Commenting on her appointment, 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.”

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 organisations in which she has held numerous leadership and board positions; including SLASSCOM, ICTA, AMCHAM, Association of Human Resource Professionals in Sri Lanka, USAID, and AIESEC. She has also been involved in multiple university collaborations with the Universities of Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Peradeniya, etc., in order to bring industry requirements into our local curricula.

Additionally, Dharmaratne has been recognised 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 recognised.

Prior to taking up her new role as Chairperson, Dharmaratne served as a Board Member of LAN since 2019. 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 Dharmaratne on the 2021/2022 LAN Board Members are; CIMB Sri Lanka former CEO Anarkali Moonesinghe, BOV Capital Co-Founder/Managing Partner Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Martin & George Chairman Dumindra Ratnayake, Promo Lanka CEO Adil Mansoor, Hemas Holdings Group CEO Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Hatch Co-Founder Nathan Sivaganathan, Hatch Co-Founder Jeevan Gnanam, Takas.lk Founder/CEO Lahiru Pathmalal, and Platinum Advisors (Singapore) Chairman and H2O ONE Director Sharhan Muhseen.

Additionally, LAN announced the 2021/2022 Board Members for its Rs. 100 million Angel Fund, which is also chaired by Dharmaratne. The Fund’s Board further comprises Anarkali Moonesinghe, Mano Sekaram, Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Dumindra Ratnayake, Wavenet Group Founder and CEO Suren Pinto, and PwC Sri Lanka Chief Operating Officer/Advisory Leader Channa Manoharan.

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.