Managing Partner, T12M Ventures Ltd.
Chairman, HKUST Convocation
Alvin's entrepreneurial journey began in his second year at HKUST, when he and two classmates set up a business helping small accessory shops promote items on the internet. After a few months, Alvin was left doing all the work so this initiative failed, but this did not put him off his long-time desire to pitch into the hurly-burly of the business world.
Unfortunately he graduated during the turmoil of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, but still managed to secure a position with a web design house where he stayed for a short period before starting his own business, PacificLink. Today PacificLink is a leading digital agency with a staff of around 300, a client list that includes Adidas, Estée Lauder, Pandora, and Ocean Park, and over 100 creative industry awards under its belt. In 2015, it was acquired by New York-listed tech giant Accenture.
It has not been an easy ride, however. PacificLink initially grew from nine staff to 25 and was acquired by another company, before the dotcom bubble burst and they bought back the company. The Sars crisis was another crunch point, but it ended up helping PacificLink as more people stayed at home surfing the internet, so businesses wanted to do digital marketing. Alvin grew the business by acquiring small, related companies in web design, IT solutions and advertising, in order to meeting their clients' needs. A major project for Ocean Park in 2008 saw it safely negotiate the financial crisis of that year.
Alvin currently operates an investment company, T12M Ventures, which has two key aims: as an angel investor in small startups and an accelerator fund that buys small companies to grow them together. HKUST alumni start-ups are among those who are benefiting, including Lingsik King, founded by alumnus John Pang, which sells snacks through e-platforms; and Sensbeat, a music app set up by alumnus Leo Wong.
Despite his hectic schedule, Alvin is a staunch supporter of the University, currently serving as Chairman of the HKUST Convocation and Immediate Past President of the HKUST Alumni Association. He has been a mentor to dozens of students and alumni, and recently donated to the Alumni Endowment Fund to set up the Student Start-up Grants program in support of the next generation of entrepreneurs. He has also been a speaker in numerous talks and seminars at the University, sharing his knowledge and advice with aspiring entrepreneurs.
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