The strength within: A closer look at the operations and administration leads of e27 Luminaries

In this latest coverage of e27 Luminaries, we are taking a look at the internal work of an organisation -the foundation of every successful business.

While we previously looked at people who contribute to developing great products and bringing those products to the market, today we are putting the spotlight on the operations and administrative heroes of the companies. People who are leading initiatives to improve how an organisation work, enabling them to face challenges in a particularly difficult time such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are different elements involved in operations and administration management, from human resource to finance. In this article, we are looking at high-achieving professionals that have supported their teams with their work:

Marlon Ramirez, Head of Operations at Ayannah

As the company’s Head of Operations, Ramirez played a great role in helping Ayannah’s navigate the changes brought by the pandemic, enabling it to continue its growth trajection.

“When the pandemic struck and the company reverted to a work from home set-up, Marlon and his team were able to ensure that our operations ran smoothly. Despite the pandemic, Ayannah grew eight times in 2020 and we attribute our success to the operations team’s ability to continuously serve our customers.”

Viktor Kyosev, Acting COO at Greenhouse

Greenhouse is one example of companies that have managed to survive the pandemic by pivoting their business -from operating a coworking space to providing a platform for curated B2B services marketplace.

“Viktor has shown how important it is to adapt even in the most challenging times. The pandemic dealt a deadly blow to the coworking sector, however, Greenhouse managed to emerge with a whole new business model in order to survive.”

Viktor Kyosev, Greenhouse. Image Credit: Greenhouse

Also Read: Winning the deal: Meet the business development professionals of e27 Luminaries

Punto Adhil Dewanto, Administrative Staff at Inavoice

The Jogjakarta-based startup is an example of a platform that launched itself at the peak of the pandemic -yet it managed to secure significant clients from the central bank to the leading FMCG companies in Indonesia. According to Inavoice, as an administrative staff, Dewanto played a crucial role in establishing the company.

“This person is credited with his ideas of developing a dexterous modern administrative form, and supporting the brand’s internal operations. Sometimes, [he could be] working more than the allotted time … Even though he is not the founder, Punto is a very important person in Inavoice.”

Punto Adhil Dewanto, Inavoice. Image Credit: Inavoice

Ming Hui Lee, Partner, Head of Operations at Moovaz

In 2020 alone, in the middle of the pandemic, Moovaz announced two acquisitions: the first one of expat-focussed media company The Finder, followed by van-hailing platform GetVan.

These major moves indicated the company’s growth from strength to strength and can only be achieved through a solid foundation in operations.

Ming Hui Lee, Moovaz. Image Credit: Moovaz

Jean Rosy Tency, Head of HR at MYCL

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MYCL found themselves shifting the focus of their operations towards the health and safety of their team members. The company even set up a task force to help employees transition to working from home setups.

“The challenges of working from home include not being able to unplug after hours, difficulties collaborating and/or communicating with colleagues, and a lack of motivation. [Tency] consistently initiated monthly activity engagement for team members,” the company explains. “Although productivity is important, the primary goal of these activity engagements … should be to maintain productivity while concurrently protecting employees’ mental health and well-being.”

As a result, the company has zero COVID-19 cases in 2020 and managed to save a considerable amount of cash.

Lee Chee Meng, Co-Chief Operations Officer at Pickupp

In a post that Meng has contributed to e27, he explained the three trends that will reshape the logistics and retail industry in Singapore in 2021 as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“There will be opportunities for growth in 2021 as we learn to adjust to the post-COVID-19 world and form business decisions around the new trends and parameters,” he wrote. “New trends have emerged at the back of these customer behaviour shifts and it is vital for SMEs.”

Pickupp itself has announced a Series A funding round in November 2020.

Lee Chee Meng, Pickupp. Image Credit: Pickupp

Alexandre Wallemacq, Operations Manager at Propseller

In October 2020, proptech startup Propseller announced a US$1.2 million seed funding round that became a testimony to the strength of its operations as a relatively new platform in the ecosystem.

The startup said that it plans to use the funding to support talent acquisitions and product development, with the goal to triple its team size within the first half of 2021.

Also Read: Innovating for the future: Meet the engineers, developers, and products managers of e27 Luminaries

Lynette Seow, COO at Safe Space

The most interesting part about Seow’s journey with Safe Space, a Singapore-based startup that works in mental healthcare, is that she started out as a volunteer before joining the company as its COO.

“She has proven integral in the scaling of Safe Space and we would like to recognise her for leading both our product and research efforts,” the company writes.

The company announced a US$250,000 seed funding round in November 2020.

Lynetter Seow, Safe Space. Image Credit: Safe Space

Durgalakshmi Sathiakumar, COO at Shiok Meats

Alternative protein is one of the most popular verticals in foodtech today, especially as customers are becoming more health- and eco-conscious since the pandemic. Shiok Meats, a Singapore-based company, is one of the leading companies in the vertical.

In September 2020, the company made headlines with its US$12.6 million Series A funding round -a testimony to the strength of their operations and trust given by investors.

Durgalakshmi Sathiakumar, Shiok Meats. Image Credit: Shiok Meats

Nandini Joshi, Chief Operating Officer at StashAway

The COVID-19 pandemic and the restriction measures implemented in many countries have pushed businesses to make adjustments in their daily operations, and Joshi played a crucial role in making sure that the Singapore-based company is able to meet those requirements.

“Nandini let the internal coordination for us during the COVID-19 period and was the one that ensured that we met the restrictions and regulations imposed,” StashAway explains.

This week, as evidence of investors’ trust in the company, StashAway announced a US$25 million Series D funding round.

Nandini Joshi, StashAway. Image Credit: StashAway

Yin Ching Loh, Chief Financial Office | Head of Network at WhiteCoat

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having access to healthcare services, and this is the issue that Loh has managed to tackle during her time at WhiteCoat.

“Yin Ching started and dramatically expanded our network of allied healthcare providers last year, successfully diversifying WhiteCoat’s suite of offerings from primary care (GP) to include specialist care and mental wellness service in the midst of the pandemic … Our users can now teleconsult a variety of licensed medical practitioners on the WhiteCoat app, at their convenience and in the safety of their own homes.”

The e27 Luminaries is an initiative by e27 to celebrate the unsung heroes of the SEA startup ecosystem. Discover these notable companies and individuals here.

Image Credit: Studio Republic on Unsplash

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