Tamil Diaspora aims to bring USD 500 million VC funds in TN through start-ups by financial year-end

ATEA has also reached out to its large ecosystem of professionals and entrepreneurs across the US to make impact investments in Tamil Nadu.

Published: 22nd July 2021 12:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2021 01:12 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Diaspora in United States is likely to bring the portfolio of US investor funds totalling between $250 million to $500 million by the end of this financial year nurturing start-ups in innovation, research and development in Tamil Nadu, says Lena Kannappan, co-founder of  American Tamil Entrepreneur's Association (ATEA).

Hailing Chief Minister M K Stalin for continuing with the policy of the previous government in wooing investments from Tamil Diaspora, Kannappan told Express that by the end of the year, ATEA has set a goal of evaluating 150 startups founded by Tamil entrepreneurs which can benefit from the US investments and select start-ups which will invest in the state.

This comes as the Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore (approximately $700k) through the Digital Accelerator programme for the American diaspora to nurture start-ups in innovation, research and development in Tamil Nadu and five of them have been selected for the sanction of the grant.

Lena Kannappan says American Tamil Entrepreneur's Association (ATEA) is working closely with Guidance Tamil Nadu in the Digital Accelerator Program Grant following a memorandum of understanding signed in 2020 to promote innovation, R&D and startup entrepreneurship in State of Tamil Nadu. 

"A stringent curation and evaluation process was done to filter from over 75 applications submitted to ATEA’s online Digital Accelerator platform.  Out of these, we zeroed in on six organisations and the State selected five for sanction of the grant during the Investors Conclave. Chief Minister M K Stalin handed the sanction order to  Atsuya Technologies, Corestack, Pacifyr, Plethy and SwirePay," Prakash Narayan, executive member of ATEA says.

"Our process of selections is different from the Nasscom or other agencies and it is a stringent one with multiple Cohorts running for several months. We qualify the best," he said while thanking Guidance for the entire programme.

Interestingly, ATEA Digital Accelerator partners with many venture capitalist firms including Dallas Venture Capital, Stanford Research venture, National Grid Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Mobile Foundation Ventures, Keiretsu Forum and others, says Kannappan.

ATEA has also reached out to its large ecosystem of professionals and entrepreneurs across the US to make impact investments in Tamil Nadu, he says. 

Ram Nagappan, another co-founder of ATEA, says community partnership development through Environmental, Social and Governance investment (ESG), an impact investment program implemented by many US corporates program or impact funds flowing from the US to Tamil Nadu will promote economic development in the state with the help of US corporates.

Recently, Tamil Nadu went through a crisis where a shortage in the number of hospital beds caused a vast number of people to suffer from being unable to breathe after getting infected with COVID-19.  There was an urgent need for oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, etc. 

"These would help stabilize people in the initial hours of respiratory distress before they either recovered or got better care when a hospital bed became available.  At this juncture, ATEA’s impact investment program kicked into high gear. The leadership teams at ATEA, Indiaspora, IIT-Madras Foundation, Tamil Nadu Foundation and other North American  Tamil organizations put together a fundraiser and helped to raise over $2.1m in a “Help Tamil Nadu Breathe'' campaign," he recalls.

ATEA members contributed over $500k (half a million) in this effort. The results have been quite impressive - Oxygen Concentrators, PPE Kits, modular oxygen generators, Oximeters and RT-PCR machines were procured and distributed to hospitals in Chennai, Perambalur, Tiruppur, Erode, Coimbatore, Vellore-Tirupattur, Madurai, Pattukkottai, Thiruvarur, Singampunari, Sivaganga and other towns and villages. The swift action by the ATEA leadership team and the generous contributions by the diaspora has certainly contributed to addressing the crisis in Tamil Nadu, he says.


The five start-ups promoted by Tamil Diaspora and backed by state government in the investment conclave are:

1. Atsuya Technologies: (Atsuyatech.com)

Internet of Things  startup focusing on solving real life problems. Through their integrated platform, they are able to provide different use cases - for example temperature monitoring for food supply chain; energy monitoring for large factories and buildings.

2. Corestack: (Corestack.com)

Companies are struggling with operational complexities; security and compliance assurances while adopting Cloud Technologies. Corestack provides continuous and autonomous Cloud Governance at scale. 

3. Pacifyr: (pacifyr.com)

For people suffering from stress, anxiety disorder,  addiction, diet and wellness issues, Pacifyr provides a timely, affordable, multi-channel access to a complete and holistic approach of emotional and mental wellness. Users can select from among several mental health wellness providers and connect with them via chat, phone or video call.

4. Plethy: (plethy.com)

For people with musculoskeletal problems, Plethy Recupe helps patients manage their care at home and simultaneously stay connected with their care team - who monitor their progress. Recupe includes a wearable sensor and an app that assists patients in their recovery plan.

5. SwirePay: (swirepay.com)

With SwirePay, businesses have a single  solution to process payments online and at Point of Sale and pay vendors and employees. SwirePay provides support for multiple payment methods including card and wallets to receive money as well as wire transfers to send money.

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