Sri Lanka’s Hatch to launch US$3-5mn fund for startups to find early clients

Hatch Co-Founders Jeevan Gnanam (left) and Nathan Sivagananathan

ECONOMYNEXT- Hatch, a Sri Lankan co-working space, will launch a 3-5 million US dollar fund named MESH to help startups find their early clients, officials said.

“It’s a 3-5 million US dollar fund focusing on startups who have a product and a first customer, but need help in going to market and finding more customers,” Co-Founder Jeevan Gnanam said in EconomyNext’s sister publication, Echelon New Establishment 100.

“Strategy, management and canvassing, we will help with all of that and invest in companies and help them grow,” he said.

“We just incorporated the fund. We’ve raised some of it from family and friends, but we need to raise more.”

Hatch, which is currently present in Colombo and Jaffna, provides space for businesses to collaborate and innovate.

Gnanam said as more floors in the main building in Colombo open up, more businesses move in.

“Every floor that we’ve put up we have people fill it up.”

The building, in Fort, has space for 1,000 people to work, and Hatch is now expanding into a building next door.

However, Hatch is becoming more than just workspace provider with value addition to startups, Gnanam said.

The MESH fund will synchronize with Hatch’s accelerator program, where both local and regional experts mentor and nudge the startups to scale, gain experience and become global businesses.

Gnanam, whose family company is St. Anthony’s Industries, co-founded Hatch in 2018 with Nathan Sivagananathan, a general partner at Singapore-based Patamar Capital and former head of the innovation unit at MAS Holdings.

Sivagananathan is targeting the enablement of ten businesses which will grow to over 10 billion rupees within a decade.

He said Hatch will be scaled with units in other Sri Lankan cities and across regional economies such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmmar.

Both Gnanam and Sivagananathan are active in the angel investing and venture capital ecosystem in Sri Lanka, and hope Hatch would help improve the ecosystem. (Colombo/Dec06/2019)