Tech Firm Alpha7 Launches With S$500k in Seed Funding
· Officially launches COOaaS – Chief Operating Officer as a Service – to match SMEs’ people, process and technology with priorities, constraints and budgets
· Founded by ex-VP of Salesforce.com Lynette Seah
SINGAPORE, 20 January 2015 – Alpha7, a technology advisory start-up, has launched with S$500,000 in seed-round funding. Alpha7 provides cloud advisory, assessment and technical implementation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Alpha7 serves businesses across several commercial sectors, including professional services, technology, energy, mobile commerce and medical services. It is founded and lead by CEO Lynette Seah, who was most recently Vice President of Finance and Strategy (APAC) at Salesforce.com.
Lynette also announced the official launch of Chief Operating Officer as a Service (COOaaS), a first of its kind in the APAC region. COOaaS provides COO expertise to businesses on an outsourced, part-time, retainer or project basis. COOaaS will be spun out as a separate entity in H1 2015, and plans to raise Series A funding of S$1.5 to S$3 million. The investment will be used to fund product development, recruitment and marketing. COOaaS is focussed on initially reaching smaller SMEs, with fewer than 500 employees, helping them expand with market traction.
Lynette said, “Singapore is small country in a large region, in a hugely globalised world. It is critical for both entrepreneurs and SME leaders who want to grow beyond Singapore to have the structures and talents in place. Since few SMEs employ Chief Operating Officers (COOs), we become the (outsourced) COO, a unique service proposition in Singapore. COOaaS aligns a firm’s people, processes and technologies with their priorities, constraints and budgets, allowing them to grow rapidly and efficiently.”
“Singapore is well served by public initiatives to boost productivity through technology. We help SMEs assess needs, evaluate technology options and implement the best solution, across some departments, or across the entire organisation. We are the (outsourced) right-hand man of the CEO, working towards a common objective of improving the company’s bottom line through technology. Both the need and opportunity of technology adoption among SMEs is significant, and we aim to grow rapidly, doubling in size each year over the next five years,” concluded Lynette.
According to SPRING Singapore, 99% of all enterprises in Singapore are SMEs, employing seven out of every 10 workers, and contributing nearly half of national GDP.
Kim Teo, Group CEO of SGX-listed Boardroom is working with Alpha7 on a technology-driven business change. He noted, “Boardroom, with Singapore as its HQ, has expanded across the Asia-Pacific region through growth and acquisitions, including Australia, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. We brought Lynette on board based on her COO expert services, to ensure that our processes, people and technology support our business growth. Her team has provided expertise and insight to best scale through better management of financial information, tech project management, big data, CRM and HRM processes. They also assisted with our eligibility under SPRING’s Capability Development Grant for this business transformation initiative.”
Alpha7 provides and implements technology strategies for a growing list of SMEs, start-ups and MNCs in Singapore and SEA. These include Perx, a Singapore based start-up backed by Facebook founder and investor Eduardo Saverin, regional business service provider Boardroom, Indonesian energy companies Carsurin and PT Citra Tubindo, mobile commerce platform Mobikon and medical services provider Parklane Medical, amongst others.
Lynette is supported by two highly experienced experts: 1) Alvin Kok, ex-head of Cloud Computing Services and Infocomm at SingTel, and; 2) Anurag Srivastava, co-founder of Singaporean venture capital firm Jungle Ventures.
McKinsey has named cloud as one of five disruptive technologies that could drive productivity improvements in Southeast Asia, producing between US$220 billion to US$625 billion in annual economic impact by 2030. Singapore government bodies, including the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and SPRING Singapore have earmarked millions of dollars to drive business and enterprise productivity. IDA has identified cloud computing as one of three core components, along with big data analytics and the internet of things. IDA also created the S$500 million Information and communications technology (ICT) for Productivity and Growth (IPG), to accelerate the adoption of ICT among SMEs and boost SMEs’ productivity and growth. SPRING’s Capability Development Grant (CDG) and their S$32 million Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) have similar objectives of raising SME productivity.