By definition, the entrepreneurship ecosystem is focused on tomorrow. This is why every year, StartOut honors a forward-looking leader who is helping redefine tomorrow for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with our Next Generation Award.
These leaders embody catalysts for change in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. They embrace diversity, collaborate across borders, and harness technology to address global challenges. They are not bound by traditional hierarchies but instead prioritize transparency, empathy, and inclusivity in their leadership styles.
This year, we will honor Johann Moonesinghe (he/him) of inKind as our 2023 Next Generation Award recipient.
Johann is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with seed level investments in companies including Uber, Twilio and All Birds. He personally invested in 30 restaurants before founding and operating a restaurant incubator from 2015-2020 to help chefs run their businesses.
“Johann isn’t just an entrepreneur and investor, he is redefining both entrepreneurship and investing for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said StartOut CEO Brian Richardson. “He enjoyed his own personal success as a founder, but is now using that experience to change the system. Johann is making sure LGBTQ+ founders and others have a real chance to create their own success. That’s leadership that transcends generations.”
As CEO/co-founder of inKind, he combines his finance experience, restaurant expertise, and passion for food. Under Johann’s leadership, inKind has funded over 1,000 restaurants with 450,000 users. inKind co-founder and Johann’s younger brother, Rajan Moonesinghe, was killed in November 2022. This tragic event has caused Johann to double down on the purpose of inKind – to help restaurant owners be financially sustainable.
Earlier in the year, inKind committed to fund $250mm to independent restaurants, 75% of whom are minority, female, LGBT or veteran owned. Along with inKind funding, inKind provides technology, partnerships, and other support to ensure that the restaurants are successful.