Alpha’a Advisory Case Study
September 13, 2019
Alpha’a, a 2-year-old startup in mid-2019, wanted to quickly expand it’s crowd-sourced and pre-curated B2B PropTech fine art sales business in New York City and throughout the United States. The Brazil originated firm, headed by two expert fine arts professionals, had gained good traction through the partners’ extensive global arts network, but did not have the real estate and PropTech ecosystem connections to grow their business quickly and efficiently. Based in New York City, and already planning to expand beyond Brazil and the US to Europe in September 2019, Alpha’a needed an advisor with global experience in real estate and PropTech startups, as well as an ability to recognize the unique intersection of property and fine art that the firm had identified.
Alpha’a is the unique PropTech startup that provides an end-to-end solution for bringing fine art to real estate in an easy, inexpensive and bespoke fashion. The company is an online, community-oriented platform offering tailor-made art collections for businesses across all industries including hospitality, tech, interior design and more. Alpha’a makes artists’ works, primarily limited-edition prints, accessible to audiences around the world through cutting-edge technology.
In June 2019, Manuela Seve, Founder & CEO of Alpha’a, and Philip Russo, Founder of PRusso/PropTech CEO Communications Coaching, met at a PropTech investment breakfast conference. Their discussion of Alpha’a and Mr. Russo’s experience in the real estate and PropTech world resonated for both, leading to Mr. Russo being introduced to Ms. Seve’s Partner & COO, Renata Thomé. In short time, the Alpha’a founders demonstrated the vast potential of their firm to Mr. Russo, recognized his value in communicating and growing the startup, and invited him to become an Advisor to the company.
Having brainstormed with the Alpha’a partners about introducing them to PropTech startups and incumbents that could partner or otherwise benefit from working with the firm, within a week Mr. Russo commenced strategic introductions to select companies he had identified. Ms. Seve and Ms. Thomé provided clear direction and industry leading goals and objectives to Mr. Russo, centering primarily on the necessity of such introductions. At that point in time, funding for Alpha’a was a secondary consideration for the largely boot-strapped firm, which was also supported by a small group of angel investors.
Among the introductions made by Mr. Russo on behalf of Alpha’a were:
- Convene — The award-winning flexible-term office spaces, coworking locations, meeting spaces and event venues across the US.
- Furnishr — A one-stop solution for interior design.
- WorkOf — The online home for contemporary design, integrating showroom, trade show and ecommerce models.
- Zeus — Smartly furnished home for extended stays.
In addition, Alpha’a was introduced to MetaProp, the New York City based venture capital firm focused on real estate technology (PropTech), as well as to the producers of the 2019 Norway PropTech Innovation Conference, to be held Sept. 24, 2019, in Bergen, Norway.
As of September 2019:
- Alpha’a has been accepted into the MetaProp at Columbia University 2019-2020 accelerator cohort, the most important in global PropTech.
- Alpha’a will be one of only three US based PropTech startups presenting at the 2019 Norway PropTech Innovation Conference.
- Convene, Furnishr, WorkOf and Zeus are all discussing deals to become clients or partners of Alpha’a.
- Alpha’a has produced in excess of $250,000 in revenue.
- While continuing to run his PropTech consulting business, Mr. Russo has become a full-time Advisor (see below) to Alpha’a.
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+1 917 499 1447
For Immediate Release
Philip Russo Named Advisor to Alpha’a
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Public Relations Expert Brings PropTech and Real Estate Communications Experience to Fast-Growing Online Fine Art Startup
New York City – Sept. 13, 2019 — Alpha’a, the unique PropTech startup that provides an end-to-end solution for bringing fine art to real estate in an easy, inexpensive and bespoke fashion, announced today that noted public relations and communications expert Philip Russo has been named an advisor to the company.
“In just a couple of months working with Phil as an outside advisor, we realized the depth and breadth of what he brought to us in understanding and connecting with the New York City, US and international PropTech and incumbent real estate communities,” said Manuela Seve, Founder & CEO of Alpha’a. “His knowledge of the industry and his ability to communicate and connect our startup’s value to important decision-makers has been invaluable, making it clear that we should bring him onboard as a full-time advisor.”
As Advisor to Alpha’a, Mr. Russo will help create and guide the company’s communications and public relations strategy, while continuing to introduce the firm to new business opportunities across the real estate value chain.
A premier executive communications coach, PropTech entrepreneur, public relations expert and journalist, Philip Russo is Founder of PRusso PropTech CEO Communications Coaching, a unique executive training experience. A 16-year veteran of commercial real estate communications, from 2015 through 2018, Mr. Russo was the Founding Partner of MetaProp Advisors, and Chief Communications Strategist for all MetaProp NYC businesses.
Prior to joining MetaProp, Mr. Russo was at CBRE Group, Inc., in New York City, where he was Senior Director, Communications and Marketing, for the New York Tri-State Region. In that role, he oversaw media relations and was responsible for integrating Research with Communications to leverage those resources in enhancing and growing the firm’s external and internal communications.
Mr. Russo, who has designed and implemented strategic communications programs in the public and private sectors, came to CBRE in January 2008 from Cushman & Wakefield, where he was Senior Managing Director of Media & Corporate Affairs. He was responsible for coordinating global internal and external messaging, media relations, speech writing and for producing a host of comprehensive corporate communications on behalf of the firm’s executive leadership.
Mr.. Russo’s extensive experience in the public sector included serving as Director of the Office of Special Projects & Publications in the Public Affairs Division of the then New York City Board of Education and as the Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
A former journalist with the Staten Island Advance and other publications, Mr. Russo covered news, sports and the arts, including some of the nation’s biggest criminal trials in Brooklyn and Manhattan federal and state courts.
Alpha’a is an online, community-oriented platform offering tailor-made art collections for businesses across all industries including hospitality, tech, interior design and more. Founded by Brazilian-born, New York based Manuela Seve and Renata Thomé, Alpha’a makes artists’ works, primarily limited-edition prints, accessible to audiences all around the world through cutting-edge technology. With a network of more than 7,000 artists, Alpha’a has spearheaded initiatives with notable names in contemporary art such as Ernesto Neto, Jarbas Lopes, Alexandre Arrechea and Nelson Leirner. Alpha’a streamlines the supply chain process by printing pieces directly in the originating country of each client’s business. Clients include Airbnb, Gilt, West Elm and Zola.