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Reinventing Talent Solutions for Startup Cross-Border Expansion: Interview with Techlinker Asia Co-Founder & CEO – Carrie Lui

Carrie Lui is a talent expert with over 20 years of HR and talent experience. She was the former Regional Talent & Learning Lead at Citigroup. Her career also includes 10 years in a senior HR & training management role for the Hospitality industry. Bringing along all these experiences with talent around the world, Carrie became an entrepreneur who has created and built her own HR and recruitment firm 2 years ago.

Today, she is the founder and CEO of Techlinker Asia, a mission-driven startup focused on helping the global startup community discover their business expansion potential and how to get there via the talent solutions provided by Techlinker Asia. Techlinker Asia is not just another HR Advisory or recruitment consultancy, it is a one-stop solution to guide startup founders through the expansion process. The service makes it easy for startup founders to grow their business into global success stories, find the talents they need at each stage and continue to build their team.

Interested in how an entrepreneur is born? Read on to learn more from our interview with Co-founder and CEO of Techlinker Asia, Carrie Lui.

  1. Tell us about your background – how did you come to found your company?

Before starting Techlinker Asia, I had been in the talent management & training space for more than 20 years.  I worked with multiple global companies like Citigroup and Marriott group.

It came to a certain time in 2019 that I withdrew my regional lead role in Citigroup and looked for opportunities to further my career. At that I realized a phenomenon in our industry – it seems that many recruiters were very transactional. ‘What kind of recruitment services can truly benefit both the candidates and the employers?’ I was thinking about how to contribute my talent experience to add value to the recruitment industry. Together with my interest in startups, I decided to start my tech recruitment business.

After more than a year of establishment, we built a very strong network within the startup community and have helped many of them to hire great talents and build the team fast.

Coming to this year, during our conversations with startup founders, we found that despite their expansion as a good sign of the business performance, they are encountering numerous challenges. And the most prominent one is expanding their business across the border.

Startup founders are either too busy on the core business or do not have any know-hows in the new market. Seeing the needs, we then officially set up our second office in Singapore and broaden our service scope to cross-border expansion. We aim to support startups or technology companies to expand their business in Hong Kong or Singapore by fuelling them with the right talents in different parts they need for the cross-border expansion process.

2. What is the most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?

People are the most important asset, to Techlinker Asia, and to any one of the companies, especially startups. We believe in the power of putting the right talents in the right team at the right time. The potential of a talent is maximized when they are given the right opportunities.

We strive to support & accelerate the growth of our start-up community. We see the need of specific talents to go through a seamless cross-border expansion. Expansion is a stage where exponential growth is expected and Techlinker Asia is here to support our fellow entrepreneurs with customized talent solutions.

3. Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) work?

We work with growing start-up & technology companies to expand or set up in Singapore or Hong Kong. We also work with our stein network of close partners from other countries who are aiming to support start-ups to step out & expand in Hong Kong & Singapore, since these two countries have massive support from the government and great infrastructure & ecosystem for start-up development.

To fuel our clients with the right talents to accelerate the cross-border set up or expansion successfully in a seamless execution through our services on:

  1. Specialists and Professional support:
    Full management support of your business set up & related regulatory submissions
  2. Interim Management:
    Seasonal business leaders to take up 6 – 12 months interim C-level leadership for setting right the local business strategies and directions
  3. Tech Recruitment:
    Recruitment of local top talents matching the company’s business development needs
  4. BPO Practice Leader:
    Full support in financial, administrative business admin or even local marketing delivery
  5. Financial Advisor:
    Sourcing strategic investors or partners in the new market

4. How has the industry been changing in recent years?

When talking about high-tech innovation, we used to think of the startups clustered predominantly in the U.S., such as Silicon Valley, Seattle and New York. But these days, many of them have already gone global and spread this trend to every corner of the world.

In the past decade or so, there has seen a dramatic growth of startup ecosystems around the world. The startup culture is especially booming in Asia. We are able to witness the massive increase in venture capital deployed on startups, which as a result, encourages the growth of more startups.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has driven digital transformation. Although the pandemic has caused many businesses to retrench, the investments on startups are unstoppable. Many tech firms like Alibaba, Tencent, Bytedance have taken this opportunity to expand across the border, especially to South East Asia. Among which Hong Kong and Singapore are the most popular destinations, not only because the mature startup ecosystems, but also the taxation and infrastructure support that provides an ideal environment for businesses to grow.

5. What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?

Similar solutions to support cross-border expansion you can find in the current market are very fragmented. While a lot of local knowledge is required throughout the process, local vendors are almost unreachable. Spanning from company incorporation & accounting, talent acquisition, fund raising, startup founders should reach out to different parties to support the essentials of a cross border expansion.

We, Techlinker Asia, provide a one-stop solution for cross-border expansion all the way from initial set-up to the scale-up phrase.  Starting from company incorporation, we support the new branch with interim management to shape local strategies and tech talents to do the ground work. When one location is all set, and the business is ready to scale up, we will start sourcing strategic investors and partners in the other new markets.

One thing that stands us out is despite the innovative startup mindset we hold, we have more than 20 years of Consultancy & Talent Management experiences as an adequate mentor for fellow founders. Our strong knowledge and presence in both Hong Kong & Singapore, and our proven track record in building teams fast for technology companies and startups allow us to be their trusted partner.

6. What does the future hold for your company?

Speed is everything in business. In order to keep up our pace, we are looking into digitizing all services under one single digital roof. By bringing together our expertise and services together, we believe this digital transformation will create values to the talent market.

Are you planning to expand your startup across the border?

Want to join our talent pool to work with amazing startups?