It may be his first foray into real estate, but Razer chief executive Tan Min-Liang's plan to shake up the sector with his new start-up Echo Base is not the pipe dream of a greenhorn in the industry.
His father Tan Kim Lee, a semi-retired real estate consultant, is now an adviser to Echo Base.
The idea to enter the real estate sector was also mooted by his former Raffles Institution schoolmate, real estate investment banker Bryan Lim, during the development of the Razer South-east Asia headquarters at one-north. Razer's new headquarters is slated to be completed by 2020 and will boast a 19,300 sq m landmark building with office space, R&D labs and design studios.
Mr Lim and the younger Mr Tan have seized the chance to disrupt the real estate sector with digital technologies. They have named the start-up Echo Base, after a hidden rebel settlement in the Star Wars movie franchise. The platform will be led by Mr Lim, who has over 16 years of experience working in regional real estate investment banking franchises. He was a managing director at Credit Suisse and an executive director of Goldman Sachs Asia-Pacific.
Mr Tan said his interests span multiple industries: "I have always been interested in any sector where we can bring additional digital infrastructure across, and an understanding of design."
But he said he is not seeking to step on the toes of traditional developers as Echo Base could help them find digital solutions too. Echo Base is backed by Moor House Capital, an investment holding company majority-controlled by Mr Tan, and by real estate solutions firm Boustead Projects.
Razer will add another 600 staff to its Singapore headcount of 400 over the next few years. This is why the firm needs a new headquarters, Mr Tan said at yesterday's ground-breaking ceremony.