Entrepreneur

Business Is In Her Blood: She Quit Her Cushy Corporate Job To Be A Serial Tech 'Expatpreneur'

For Amy Read, founder of Techsembly and Gifts Less Ordinary, entrepreneurship has always been in her blood.

The UK-born expat has been based in Singapore since 2012, working for major companies.

In 2015, she ditched her cushy corporate career to launch a personalised gifts e-commerce business.

Subsequently, she made the jump from lifestyle to tech. She is launching a startup that builds localised e-storefronts for businesses, called Techsembly.

Since its inception, Techsembly has signed on eight major clients, with fourteen in the pipeline. That includes businesses like The Peninsula Hotel Group, Not Just A Label, and Boutique Fairs Singapore. 

“Now, I’m doing what I love,” says Amy. “I love the adrenaline, buzz and creativity (of a startup), and being able to push yourself to be the best you can be.”

Entrepreneurship Runs In The Family

Amy was born and raised in the UK among a family of entrepreneurs. Her mother, the breadwinner of the family, ran retail outlets in Scotland and her uncle built a shipping business.

I watched them go from broke to making it work. I was inspired by the highs and lows of all of it.

– Amy Read, founder of Gifts Less Ordinary and Techsembly

Initially, Amy pursued a fifteen-year long career in major companies across the UK and Singapore, serving in leadership roles at Facebook, NMG, a global financial advisory group, and major telecommunications firm BT.

While working at NMG’s Advisory and Investment arm, she decided to leave her stable career to launch her first startup.

“It was a now or never decision,” says Amy. “I was also on maternity leave at that time, and I realised that I needed to leave the comfort of my corporate role, despite the steady salary, before it was too late.”

From Gifts To Tech

Amy’s first startup, Gifts Less Ordinary, sells personalised gifts across Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. It’s also where she derived the idea for Techsembly.

“People assume you go into gifts because you’re a girl, but I also went into the (digital e-commerce industry) because I loved the tech,” Amy explains.

Techsembly Team / Image Credit: Techsembly

The online store experienced 400 per cent in growth within its second year, largely owed to its ability to cater to the unique palettes of the customers across the different markets with its localised storefronts.

Gifts Less Ordinary had a dedicated internal tech team building a centralised platform to manage content, analytics and marry international with local design.

The central platform allowed the team to orient their brand identity for different markets, such as showcasing the work of local artists to the e-storefront in Singapore.

The model was exported to Techsembly when a chance encounter with representatives from the Peninsula Hotel Group revealed a hidden demand for Software As A Service (SAAS) the startup owned.

Amy and her team were at a conference in Hong Kong when they were informed that their software was something that the hotelier had been looking for for a while.

Image Credit: Techsembly

At techsembly we help clients build multi-storefronts that can be tailored to different geographical locations on the one platform. Most e-commerce companies, including Shopify don’t yet offer this.

– Amy Read, founder of Gifts Less Ordinary and Techsembly

Jumping On The Digitisation Trend

2020 has accelerated Techsembly’s growth. Now, more than ever, businesses are turning to online shopfronts as consumers move online.

Techsembly will be launching a self-serve solution later this year, which will offer its SAAS on a subscription model with a 14-day free trial.

Amy foresees the utility of a geo-specific storefront benefiting more than traditional retail-based companies — its applications could also be re-utilised for boutique fairs, even media companies.

The entrepreneur is only at the starting line of her journey — and she’s not letting up on her ventures. “It’s about pushing yourself to be the best you can be.”

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