The Startup Veteran: Bringing business transformation through Cloud Technology

Alpha 7 — Lynette Seah

A passionate advocate of Cloud Tech, Lynette Seah founded Alpha7 – a business advisory company with a mission to evangelize to business owners, entrepreneurs & CEOs, the value of Cloud & how with the convergence of social mobile technology, can help businesses be more productive, grow & expand in the APAC region.

An Australian Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of experience, Lynette is the heart and head of Alpha7 where she leads the team and drives the company to greater success. She brings over 28 years of experience in finance, operations, business and project management. Lynette’s expertise lies in helping businesses leverage technology to improve productivity, increase customer reach and improve bottom lines.

Prior to setting up Alpha7 in 2014, Lynette served as Vice President of Finance and Strategy and member of the APAC management team at Salesforce.com for eight years. She has also held senior management roles at PWC, JD Edwards and Interwoven.

What is Alpha 7? What is the issue that the venture is trying to address and what makes you confident that it is a winning proposition

“Alpha7 is a leading Singapore based start-up in cloud computing solutions and advisory services for SMEs and enterprises. We work closely with entrepreneurs and C-suites, helping them to define and identify technology solutions to support their business growth. Alpha7 does this by balancing priorities, constraints, and budgets with people, processes, and technology. We work towards a common objective of improving the company’s bottom line by leveraging cloud and digital technologies with advisory services, solutions, and cloud apps marketplace.

Businesses can adopt, adapt, and connect to technology through Alpha7’s advisory and line of solutions A7 BizConnect and A7 AppsConnect. A7 BizConnect is a digital transformation tool enabling businesses to chart their roadmap to digital transformation. A7 AppsConnect is a technology platform comprising 40+ cloud-based applications available in our marketplace — bringing affordability and efficiency across business functions – sales, marketing, finance, operations, and human resource. Ultimately, our goal is to help our clients diversify their services offering to keep them competitive in a cut-throat market.”

What was the key factors that led you to take the plunge?

“I was formerly VP of Finance and Strategy for APAC at SalesForce.com, and have over 25 years of experience in a number of tech and finance companies, including JD Edwards, PwC, Intervowen.  At SalesForce, I saw the potential for technology to drive business transformation, riding its growth from startup to unicorn to Fortune500 company — and more importantly, to bring Fortune500 level technology to APAC enterprises and SMEs at an affordable price point. I was inspired by SalesForce’s meteoric rise from startup to unicorn to Fortune500 in record time. I was part of this journey, being one of its pioneer employees in Asia-Pacific. Driven by this, I saw the gap in the marketplace for digital transformation and decided to start Alpha7, when the opportunity arose to become a StartUp Veteran at the ‘innovative’ age of fifty.”

Where (if) did you meet your other co-founders / business partners? Please describe each one briefly.

“Although Lynette is the sole founder of Alpha7, she leveraged on her trusted advisors who now sits on Alpha7’s board.”

How did you manage the initial capital?        

“It was sourced through private investors.”

What were the first 90 days like?

“Very painful! If I were to start over again, I would have read up more on the dos and don’ts on starting up after 25+ years of MNC experience. Nevertheless, I survived the initial shock of moving from a senior regional position with a big team to a start up with 1 employee, an experience I will blog on to share experiences.”

Have you managed to raise any funding — angel / seed, etc?

“In May 2015, Alpha7 raised S$3.1 million (US$2.17 million) in seed funding — one of the larger seed rounds for a Singapore tech startup. This took total funding to date to $3.6 million (US$2.52 million), including an earlier seed investment round of S$500,000 in January 2015. Along with driving product development and market expansion (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand), we recently an-nounced new hires in January, as follows:

  • James Wong named Managing Director, Asia; nearly 30 years in IT
  • Kelvin Woo named General Manager, Channel & Business Development; 20 years in sales and BD
  • Ailene Lee named General Manager, General Business Division; 29 years’ in sales and marketing

What is the revenue stream & profitability?

“Alpha7 has 3 streams of revenue: Advisory, Solutions, Marketplace. We have made significant invest-ments in technology and people. We are a fast growing cloud technology startup, meeting the needs of enterprises and small and medium businesses across Singapore and the APAC region with our cloud innovation. We see tremendous opportunity in helping these businesses in-crease revenues with our technology. In doing so, we anticipate being profitable within the next 12 months – on a conservative estimate.”

What is your guiding philosophy when it comes to doing business?

“I live by 3 key values in my MNC days as well as a Start up — “Integrity, Respect and Trust” consistently applied in what we do, say and serve at work, at home and in our community. My values drives my 5Cs leadership style — Collaborate, Corroborate, Communicate, Cooperate and Celebrate.”

Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?

“We want to double our revenues and valuation year-on-year for the next five years. On a more personal note, I have seen how cloud has helped a number of businesses drive transformation. I also see how it could transform a lot more businesses — the opportunity is tremendous, particularly in Asia where there are so many business hurdles that cloud can overcome. The journey forwards will not be easy. The goal is a big one: to become the go-to company for cloud technology solutions and digital transformation in Singapore, Southeast Asia, and Asia-Pacific for SMEs and enterprise.”