The Angel Fund has announced a Rs. 10 million investment in Niftron, a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform that aims to make blockchain simpler and more affordable for businesses at all levels and industries. The Angel Fund was established by the Lanka Angel Network (LAN) with the support of ecosystem development partner Ford Foundation and aims to catalyze the growth of Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem.
Niftron is one of the first investments made by the Angel Fund since its launch last year. Additionally, Niftron has raised a further Rs. 11 million from Angel Fund investors based out of Singapore, Sri Lanka, UK and USA.
Niftron’s platform is especially innovative since it allows anyone to integrate blockchain with their products or projects easily and efficiently to improve trust by providing transparency, security, and ownership. The platform was developed to ensure ease of use, even for those without a complete knowledge of blockchain.
According to Co-Founder and CEO of Niftron, Sharmilan Somasundaram, the company was created to bridge the existing lack of client-side blockchain expertise, which often results in a too long and costly learning curve for companies. Via Niftron’s pay-as-you-go model, companies circumvent additional costs and delays and can integrate easily into any existing or new project/product without changing their own process/flow. Niftron provides all the services that are needed for any type of blockchain project, from secure components for signatures and login, to services to add data, and APIs to access and verify data.
“Based on customer feedback, and analysis, we have found that Niftron reduces blockchain integration and development time by up to 80%, while cost reduction can be as high as 70%. In fact, the whole development with Niftron takes just a few weeks for large enterprise applications to only a few days or less for a small project, which makes business transformation very fast,” said Mr. Somasundaram.
Since its beta release, Niftron has attracted local and international customers, including clients who are developing blockchain-based certificates and document verifications, using the platform for domain name issuing, loyalty points and gift cards, and even nonprofit fundraising and traceability apps. Niftron has also been recognised by X-Hub Tokyo’s Global Startup Accelerator Inbound Programme 2021, Deloitte Japan, as well as Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Technology and Information and Communication Technology Agency (e-Swabhimani Awards).
The Rs. 100 million Angel Fund comprises 100 angel investors, including many high-profile entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, who represent close to 30 industries with proven competencies in over 40 functional domains, along with 20% of its investment from members based out of Canada, Dubai, Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore, UK, and USA.
LAN Angel Investor, and Founding Partner of Hyperion Ventures, Navid Munas said, “We at Hyperion Ventures are excited at the prospect of working closely with founder-centric companies who are passionate, creative, and dedicated to executing their vision. With the team at Niftron and their BaaS platform, we feel they have the talent and skillset to explore the arena of DeFi and smart contracts which whilst in its infancy now is set to boom into the future. As an industry-agnostic VC, we look forward to the ideas and businesses presented by the next cohort of startups.”
The Angel Fund hosts a quarterly open call for early-stage startups looking for investment. The Investment Committee will be selecting the best startups from the currently-running Cohort 2 on April 28, 2021.
Subsequently, all 100 investors will be meeting virtually on May 4, 2021, to meet the top startups. Cohort 2 includes startups from Fintech, Edtech and, for the first time, Femtech. Applications are currently open for Cohort 3 and will close on April 30, 2021.
Adding to this, LAN Angel Investor, and Director of CeylonAuctions.com, Dr. Rohitha de Silva said, “Scarcity drives value, especially with Blockchain. I’m pleased this journey brought me back home to Sri Lanka. I’m excited to be part of the Angel Fund and looking forward to the next cohort of startups.”
The Rs. 100 million Angel Fund has plans to eventually invest in six to 10 high potential startups in total, gearing them up to scale domestically, and even internationally. It is managed by LAN’s fund management team, which continues to identify and evaluate opportunities for investment across the island, including in traditionally underserved regions. The 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.