In 2018, Ransi Mannapperuma left her lucrative job as a senior financial analyst at Teranet Inc., a big Canadian tech firm to come and work with a software company in Uganda.
The tech firm is Laboremus Uganda Ltd. and she worked as its business analyst from June 2018 to May 2019.
Laboremus Uganda develops software for the banking and finance sector.
In a recent article posted on LinkedIn, Mannapperuma, who came to Kampala under a one-year-Fellowship program facilitated by Engineers without Borders Canada (EWB), shared her experience and contribution to some of the startups she worked with while in Uganda.
One of the most notable ones is her role in helping Emata raise funds. The financial tech firm was launched in 2017 to help farmers in Uganda access affordable credit. They are also planning on expanding across East Africa.
Mannapperuma helped the startup raise US$800,000 (about Shs2.9 billion). But it was not an easy journey.
“Raising capital in East Africa can be very tricky. Unlike the West, where you can raise millions from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley with just an idea, commercial investors in this region need to see tangible revenues and renowned partner support before investing. Hence, most startups turn to grant financing for seed capital,” She writes on LinkedIn.
“The process of obtaining grant financing is akin to commercial capital in that you need to prepare and deliver convincing pitch presentations, create financial models to support the business case, demonstrate both profitability and then compete with tons of other applicants. The only difference is that to raise grant financing you also have to demonstrate social impact. That was my job.”
Emata uses advanced risk analytics and digital tracking to determine which farmer deserves a loan.
“Most farmers, however, are not able to invest in their farms because they do not fulfill the requirements banks and other financial institutions demand in order to give them loans,” the company says in a YouTube video.
“With Emata, we use advanced risk analytics to determine if a farmer qualifies for a loan. We work with dairy cooperatives to create a digital record based on a farmer’s deliveries. Using end to end digital processes, algorithms, and advanced risk analysis, we offer farmers at affordable interest rates.”
Aside from Emata, Ransi Mannapperuma has also contributed to the growth of Refactory, a project launched to prepare IT graduates for the job market and Uganda Meat Association Consultancy.