Catching up with Srilekha Akula, Alto Pharmacy’s Chief Technology Officer

Jun 12, 2024


Alto Pharmacy


Srilekha Akula recently joined Alto as our new Chief Technology Officer. We sat down with Srilekha to learn more about her experiences, what she’s excited about at Alto, the top priorities in her new role, and her passions outside of work.

Congratulations on your new CTO role! We’re so excited to have you on board. To start, we’d love to get to know you a little more. Tell us a bit about your journey and your passions outside of work. 

Thank you! I am so excited to be here. I grew up in India and hardly stepped outside the city I grew up in, Hyderabad, until I was 19 years old. I now live in Fremont, California with my husband and two children. Fremont is a wonderful place to live and we have an incredible view of Mission Peak. It was voted one of America’s happiest cities. I love taking walks and exploring the many hiking trails around us. I also love to read and listen to long form podcasts. I recently read the biographies of Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton and recommend them to any interested readers.

Can you share a little bit about your background and how you got to Alto? 

Through a university recruitment program, I was selected by a FinTech firm, now Broadridge, to travel to Sydney, Australia for my first job. I started with coding on investment banking platforms using Unix, Perl, Java, and Visual Studio. I did a lot of engineering consulting during my early years in the United States for companies such as ExStream (acquired by HP) and Best Buy. The first exposure to healthcare I got was working at Optum in 2013. I was amazed by the real tangible impact it can have on human lives through population analytics but didn’t really appreciate the complexity in the ecosystem until much later. When we moved to Silicon Valley for my husband’s work, I joined Google and then Amazon. Then, I found myself back at Optum where I led the Software, Network, Data, and Analytics for Revenue Cycle. I had learned about Alto during the pandemic due to the role Alto played during COVID and during the Prime Rx launch. 

What attracted you to Alto? 

After I spoke with Alicia, Jamie K, and the rest of the team, I liked how the leadership team was thinking about Alto and why Jamie made certain intentional choices for the company. Combine that with the huge market opportunity, it felt like the right place to be, the right industry to pursue, and the right team to pursue it with. When I was at the final crossroads of Alto vs another company, Alicia’s candidness and her clarity drove it home for me.

You’ve been with the company since March. What has been the biggest surprise so far? 

Great question. I am impressed by the power of the technology that we built here and the thrifty team that is building and maintaining it. I am also excited by how our pharmacy staff appreciates the automation and passionately suggests improvements. That proximity to the user is sacred and we must leverage it. Healthcare is always a field where I learn every single day. It is complex, not just complicated, because the incentives of the players aren’t always clear and many times they seem to be at odds with one another. With Alto being a digitally-powered B2C and B2B pharmacy platform, leading Tech is truly an honor. This team is a critical part of the company now and for our growth. I am excited about the talented technology team, many of whom are also passionate users of what we create every day.

What are your biggest priorities as CTO? 

I want to ensure I’m being strategic while providing immediate value to our patients, partners and customers on our path to get there. I also know it’s an incredibly important time to build up my team. As Alto evolves, I want to ensure my team feels supported and confident in the skills needed as we work toward our strategic vision. I want my team to know that I appreciate and welcome feedback. Innovation and influence can come from anywhere. I invite them to not hesitate to reach out to me directly with an idea or with feedback. Every day is an opportunity for me to learn and grow within my role, to be a better leader, to be a catalyst and an enabler for my team, to be a growth driver for my company.