Ed Lam: A Business-Savvy Entrepreneur Driving Change
Ed Lam, Co-Founder & CEO, LFX was recently recognized by APAC Entrepreneur for being one of the ‘Most Influential Entrepreneurs from Hong Kong.’ Read his full story below.
Resilient global supply chains have become front-and-center as a key competitive advantage for companies to succeed in today’s volatile environment. While the key focus in managing global supply chains has historically been all about product flow, technological advancements and rising interest rates mean more and more emphasis is being placed on data flow and fund flow to make supply chains more effective and efficient.
With a mission to transform the supply chain and retail industry, Ed Lam co-founded LFX Digital in 2021 as an offshoot of Li & Fung to create business ventures focusing on the digital and money flows of the supply chain to create long-term value and – importantly – enable sustainable consumption.
Gaining Experiences and Learning
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ed spent 13 years in the US before he moved back to Hong Kong in the late ‘90s. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, Ed also has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and an MIT Executive Certificate in Blockchain Technologies.
Ed has led an unconventional professional journey and has worked his way up with determination and business acumen. He started as a certified public accountant and then got into Wall Street at Morgan Stanley in New York and Hong Kong as an M&A and TMT investment banker. He later joined Citi as Head of Hong Kong to oversee its Hong Kong Global Banking operations. Subsequently, he transitioned from Wall Street to Main Street in 2012 and joined Li & Fung, a global supply chain MNC headquartered in Hong Kong with presence in 50 countries, as Group CFO. Inspired by digital savvy companies such as Google and Amazon, he was a key advocate for the company’s digital transformation. With his operational experience in the corporate world, and a long history of start-up alliances, M&As, capital markets, and venture capital, Ed has had a bird’s eye view of what companies need in place to succeed and continue their growth trajectories. LFX is the culmination of that drive, allowing him to work with teams that embrace the Silicon Valley culture, no matter where they might be. He co-founded LFX to invest, operate and develop digital ventures that will transform the supply chain and retail industries.. As a platform business, LFX has a number of different approaches. Whether investing, acquiring or partnering with companies; operating businesses themselves; or incubating new ideas, LFX digital ventures provide technology solutions, operational insights and venture capital to help brands, retailers as well as SMEs across the entire supply chain ecosystem succeed.
Overcoming Challenges and Building Sustainable Supply Chains
Ed has worn multiple leadership hats throughout his journey. From his perspective, entrepreneurship is all about starting something new, completely from ground zero. He believes that while running and creating start-ups is quite different from operating MNCs, there are overlapping skill sets, such as decisive problem-solving, resilience, and speed of execution.
Initially, every founder faces inevitable challenges and one of the major challenges is finance where many new start-ups fail comes down to lack of funding and poor cash flow management. The goal of LFX is to create and capture value. It’s an exciting mission but it also comes with its challenges. Every day can be fire fighting, with people issues, client issues, operational hiccups in IT and workflow, and structural and regulatory issues with various jurisdictions. But as Ed says, “I want to use my business skills to insert the right level of financial and operational discipline as well as data-driven analytics to guide our entrepreneurs. My focus is to leverage what I have learned previously to develop new businesses and change the way business is being done, and more importantly, create value by enriching the people around me, and developing the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.”
One of his key priorities and challenges has been to attract entrepreneurs and recruit talent with an entrepreneurial mindset and digital skillset to join LFX. “Through various cycles of reorganization to upskill the existing team and recruit newcomers, we have now formed a core team to run our various digital ventures including the new strategic data unit,” says Ed.
The inspiring entrepreneur aims to create a workplace culture that excites and motivates the team. LFX lives by core values of integrity, respect, excellence, learning, and empowerment to create the right culture and form a community for its team members to unleash their full potential.
Over the Horizons
LFX is gaining momentum in demonstrating innovation and expertise in the space it currently serves. Ed’s goal is for LFX to be at the core nexus of the global supply chain, with a portfolio of digital ventures, either self-developed, managed, or via investments that cover every single aspect of the end-to-end consumer goods supply chain. He believes in the synergy between running both an investment management business and an operating company in a focused segment such as global supply chain. “Through the LFX platform, we currently have presences across digital product creation, workflow automation, supply-chain finance, real-time transportation visibility, cross-broader e-commerce, and ESG enablers covering the end-to-end supply chain,” he concludes. “Through our efforts, we hope to make a real and lasting contribution to creating the supply chain of the future, and leverage innovation to make sustainable consumption a reality.”