Tech millionaire Jeevan Gnanam, from Sri Lanka, will arrive on first Manchester visit in December to expand on the growing Techcelerate Partnership.
Jeevan Gnanam, without a doubt, has contributed to the growth of Sri Lankan tech ecosystem than anyone else, I know or heard of. Jeevan is making his first visit to Manchester in December.
Champion of Sri Lankan Tech Ecosystem
Born into a wealthy conglomerate, St. Anthony’s Group of Companies founded by his grandfather in 1942, who started by selling scrap metal, Jeevan dabbled with tech entrepreneurship by founding Phone2Car whilst undertaking his graduate studies in the USA. After returning to Sri Lanka in 2006, he dabbled with another startup, this time on eCommerce (kade.com) with his brother, which also struggled to take off. He then went on to create an IT services company known as Providence Global, once he realised how tough it was to create technology product company in Sri Lanka at the time.
These three experiences led Jeevan to solve many problems faced by the Sri Lankan IT and Tech sectors. His notable contributions include:
- OrionCity – Convincing the Board of his family-run conglomerate in 2007 to allow him to use land (16 acres) in Colombo to build Sri Lanka’s first IT Park (550,000 sq. feet). Sri Lankan born NASDAQ-listed Virtusa became the first tenant with tech startup Cinergix (first product Creately) joining them shortly after.
- Lankan Angel Network – Co-founded in 2012 helping to create successful tech startups such as Takas, initially through Venture Engine competitions.
- SA Knowledge Services (SAKS) – Founded in 2012 offering Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) from finance and accountancy services to process automation.
- CrowdIsland – Co-founded the first Sri Lankan crowdfunding platform with Nathan Sivaganathan and Chalinda Abeykoon in 2016.
- Hatch – Co-founded with Nathan Sivaganathan in 2017 to supercharge the development of the Sri Lankan tech ecosystem, which includes office spaces, an accelerator and a startup fund.
- Veracity AI – Spun out of SAKS in 2019 to focus on offering Data Scientists and AI/ML services to global companies. Partners with Techcelerate in 2019 to support Techcelerate Member companies.
- Digital Reality – Founded in 2018 Sri Lanka’s first high-density data centre.
In 2010, Jeevan took over the leadership of Anton (St. Anthony’s Industries), which was founded in 1958 by his grandfather and forms part of the St. Anthony’s Group of Companies. The organisations under the management of Jeevan now generates circa $55 million, whilst the conglomerate generates circa $300 million in revenues.
Getting to know Jeevan
I came to know Jeevan when I needed a venue to hold my first tech event in Sri Lanka in 2014 in collaboration with Readme. Jeevan was kind enough to make OrionCity available for us. About 80 attended the event, which became a pivotal point for the growth of the Sri Lankan tech ecosystem.
Just after I incorporated Techcelerate for the second time, I had a chance to spend some time with Jeevan in early January 2018 and we started discussing ways to collaborate.
As a person, Jeevan is highly intelligent and easy to get along with, irrespective of your social standing. He has rescued many tech startups in Sri Lanka and has given a lifeline to many others.
It has taken a number of years for Jeevan to assemble a world-class team of data scientists with expertise in computer vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), analytics and Machine Learning (ML). They have already undertaken projects in the USA, Europe and Sri Lanka, and now hungry to work with UK companies. Projects range from financial services and capital markets to insurance, eCommerce, manufacturing and healthcare.
Jeevan and Techcelerate
In 2019, Jeevan joined Techcelerate Angel Network and soon after, Veracity AI joined as a Techcelerate Partner to help Techcelerate Tech Member Companies inject Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ML into their products to achieve a competitive technology advantage.
Jeevan will be in Manchester for 4 days in December to solidify on-going discussions and to get to know Manchester’s and UK’s tech ecosystem better. Do watch out for the programme of activities coming out later this month.