Building an Internet start-up is no easy task, but destroying a profitable old-economy business to set up an on-line venture has proved even harder, according to i-Admin.com chairman Henry Ling. An executive search professional with 15 years of industry experience, Mr Ling said he made a drastic decision last year to close down the 10-year-old head-hunting operation of LTA & Co. Having a clean record and detachment from his previous engagement was key in gaining the trust of his new clients. 'If we continue to make income from recruitment, there will be potential conflicts of interest, because our clients are letting us process all their human resource data,' he said. I-Admin.com provides on-line human resources administration software to corporations which can be downloaded when needed, as well as data storage at its data centre. It aims to help clients lower costs by 20 to 25 per cent over three years for mundane human resource chores such as administration of payroll, recruitment, training and employee benefits. Moving from a traditional business to a dotcom company meant many adjustments. According to Mr Ling, i-Admin's 40 employees have to get used to working 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for less pay. Only seven staff of the former executive search operation are now working for i-Admin. 'Ninety per cent of the people who joined i-Admin have taken a pay cut. Some have taken a drastic cut. They have to believe in the vision and be committed.' The lower salaries are compensated by stock options which can be exercised after the company goes public. They comprise about 10 to 15 per cent of the firm's share capital. Like other on-line software application providers, i-Admin.com faces fears from clients that sensitive data may be leaked and has to build strong relations based on trust. After obtaining an undisclosed strategic investment from United States-based private capital firm GE Capital early this month, i-Admin.com is planning to raise US$5 million to US$10 million in a second round of venture funding in about three months. I-Admin.com, which expects revenues of more than US$1 million in its first year, hopes to break even in the first 18 months.