Meet Sachin Samarawickrama, Investment Analyst
Our team Q&As give you an inside look at the people behind Folklore.
Sachin Samarawickrama has joined Folklore as the latest member of our investment team, helping us find Australia and New Zealand's most ambitious founders and support them in achieving their visions. Read on to learn more about his story and what led him to VC.
What was your experience before joining Folklore?
Since uni, I’ve loved technology and startups and knew I wanted to work in the world of startups. Graduating with degrees in Commerce and Maths, I was keen to flex the quantitative muscle. I knew that VC would be a great fit as it would allow me to gain broader exposure to the most exciting startups that ANZ had to offer, and put me in a unique position to help them fulfill their true potential – it was the Goldilocks solution.
With this in mind, I was on a quest to build out a toolkit of skills that I believed would make me a good investor. I started out my career in investment banking at Macquarie Capital, working in the General Industrials & Sponsors team. Here I was able to work on a lot of interesting transactions across sectors such as consumer retail, food & beverage and healthcare to refine my core technical finance skills.
Next, to gain some direct investing experience, I took on a role at David Teoh’s family office, where we invested in growing B2B SaaS businesses. This allowed me to develop my abilities in identifying high potential startups, and further solidified my passion for VC.
Why were you excited to be joining the Folklore team?
There are many reasons why I was drawn to Folklore in particular, these broadly sat under two core buckets. Firstly, the culture – it really is second to none. Throughout the interview process, I was able to meet many of the team and what became glaringly obvious was how ambitious and driven they were, whilst also providing a strong support network for growth (both professionally and personally).
Secondly, as someone who is driven by first principles, the rigorous investment process that the team adopts really appeals to me. I enjoy peeling back the layers of the onion and figuring out what makes something tick. At Folklore, I’m able to fuel this curiosity due to the disciplined approach the team takes in investing.
Tell us about a day in the life of an Investment Analyst at a VC firm. How will you be adding value to Folklore and its community of companies?
As the adage goes, no two days are the same. An investment analyst’s day can consist of taking founder calls, conducting market research, meeting other investors and operators (to name a few). With all this in mind, I think one thing that remains consistent is working towards the common goal of finding exciting startups, developing a thesis and investing with high conviction. Throughout my onboarding process, I’ve enjoyed reading more about the firm and the portfolio – I’m excited to get stuck in and absorb as much as I can with the high calibre team at Folklore, and leverage my experience in both finance and investing to hopefully add some value myself!
What excites you about meeting a new company or startup?
I’ve always admired founders who can take an idea, no matter how seemingly outrageous it is, and turn it into a reality. The startups we work with are fascinating because they're often completely disruptive and challenging an existing norm or status quo (autonomous drones delivering medicine to rural areas comes to mind).
I’m a sucker for a good underdog story – and that’s exactly what every successful startup has been. They've managed to break down problems to their fundamental elements, and build a solution from scratch, usually taking on big incumbents. The way everything comes together is through tireless iteration, grit and feedback; I love how novel and groundbreaking it all is.
What areas will you focus on or do you really love?
Artificial Intelligence. I understand that this is not a new concept by any means (pretty sure every electronic I own uses it to some degree), but we’ve seen some really exciting applications of AI in emerging spaces such as healthcare and agriculture.
Where can we find you outside of work?
I’m a big fan of quality off-time. Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends (this includes my two Samoyeds), playing COD and building out my sneaker collection.
Tell us more about your sneaker collection –how many are we talking here? And do you have a dream sneaker?
Air Max 95s in the windbreaker colour-way – the sneaker that started it all. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I love sneakers so much, I think it ultimately comes down to their ability to showcase the designer’s creativity. Every part of the sneaker is a deliberate choice: the colour-way, silhouette, materials or even the technology within the sneaker, and each one suits a different wearer. I’ve never been one to fall for hype and my collection is a reflection of my own style which has evolved over time.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced (other than financing this hobby), is figuring out where to store all these shoes without looking like a Footlocker. After exhausting the IKEA catalogue, I’ve now resigned to displaying a monthly rotation. This way I can keep the shelf looking fresh (and side benefit, I’m no longer restricted to commercially available shelf sizes).
In terms of dream sneaker, it’d have to be the Sean Wotherspoon x Air Max 97/1. There’s just something about the rainbow-esque corduroy Air Max 97 upper sitting on an Air Max 1 sole, all inspired by vintage Nike from the 80s to 90s that gets me (if you haven’t seen the documentary, which goes through the story from concept to release, would recommend it here).
Subscribe to our newsletter for updates delivered directly to your inbox.