ST Singaporean of the Year 2020: Gaming chair manufacturers make their mark on world map

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Ian Ang and Alaric Choo co-founded Secretlab to make the world's best gaming chair and have since sold more than one million chairs.

SINGAPORE - An idea hatched in his bedroom has helped entrepreneur Ian Ang build a multi-million dollar business - and all before he turns 30.

His winning notion stemmed from frustration in not being able to find a suitable gaming chair. His response? Make them himself.

Mr Ang, 28, and business partner and friend Alaric Choo, 32, founded Secretlab and toiled over the past five years to continually improve their product, which is now among the most highly-rated gaming chairs in the world.

Secretlab delivers chairs to more than 60 countries and deals direct to consumers with operations almost entirely online.

From just two people, the company has expanded to close to 200 staff.

The pair are not slowing down. While tight-lipped on their plans, they intend to continue expanding he company, especially as the market in Singapore has become more saturated as the Secretlab chairs become more mainstream, said Mr Ang.

The company was a one-off when it started as the gaming chair industry was not as established as it is now.

"There were no textbook answers or anybody to refer to out there," said Mr Ang. "We've always had to take a very creative approach to everything that we do."

He has some pertinent advice for budding entrepreneurs: "One needs grit - not in the sense of abandoning the business or whatnot, but in the daily, difficult decision-making.

Mr Alaric Choo (left) and Mr Ian Ang are the founders of Secretlab, a multimillion-dollar firm that has become one of the most highly rated gaming chair manufacturers in the world. PHOTO: SAMUEL RUBY

"Instead of taking the easy way out, you have to stress yourself out: think and think and think, constantly weigh all the pros and cons, think creatively of 10 other possible alternatives, then make the best call.

"It can be mentally taxing and unhealthy."

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