Award-winning Singapore maker of gaming chairs valued at over S$200m after Temasek boost

Homegrown startup Secretlab’s gaming chairs have been very popular among gamers, who often sit for long periods during play time. — Picture from Secretlab via TODAY
Homegrown startup Secretlab’s gaming chairs have been very popular among gamers, who often sit for long periods during play time. — Picture from Secretlab via TODAY

SINGAPORE, Aug 14 — Off the bat from winning the “best gaming chair of 2019” gong, Singapore startup Secretlab has secured millions in funds from a subsidiary of state investment firm Temasek Holdings, in a deal which values the chairmaker at more than S$200 million (RM604 million).

Announcing the deal in a press release yesterday, the five-year-old startup, which is performing strongly in the United States and Europe, said that the “groundbreaking” partnership will allow it to tap Temasek’s expertise to take its business to the next level.

While Secretlab declined to disclose the exact amount of the investment, TODAY understands that the Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital Management has taken on a “minority stake” that puts Secretlab’s overall valuation at between S$200 million and S$300 million.

The cash injection from Heliconia is the first from an external investor in Secretlab. Heliconia, a wholly owned Temasek subsidiary, focusses on investing in growth-oriented companies.

With the boost, Ian Alexander Ang, co-founder and chief executive officer of the firm, told TODAY: “We think we will double the number of users by next year. We will be working on making our chairs available more widely.”

Ang, a 27-year-old former professional gamer, founded Secretlab with fellow Singaporean pro-gamer Alaric Choo, 31, in 2014. Their chairs — with sales of more than 200,000 so far — have since gained wide fame in gaming circles.

Secretlab founders Alaric Choo (left) and Ian Alexander Ang believe they can double sales of their gaming chairs by 2020. — Picture from Secretlab via TODAY
Secretlab founders Alaric Choo (left) and Ian Alexander Ang believe they can double sales of their gaming chairs by 2020. — Picture from Secretlab via TODAY

They are used in the biggest e-sports tournaments worldwide, such as the International Dota 2 Championship that holds the world’s largest e-sports prize pool of S$32 million.

Last month, United Kingdom-based magazine PC Gamer named its S$499 Omega chair “the best gaming chair of 2019”, beating its competitor, Vertagear, on its comfort levels over long periods of gaming. Two weeks ago, American website Cnet also called Secretlab’s S$549 Titan chair the “best overall” gaming chair it had come across this year.

While noting that the Singapore market represents less than five per cent of the company’s sales, Ang said: “We have an incredible, ever-improving product which we need to get out there, and there is a lot of potential in new markets.”

The firm would not disclose which markets Secretlab intends to target, saying it was confidential.

Commenting on the investment, Heliconia’s CEO Derek Lau said: “The brand has fuelled Secretlab’s rapid expansion to over 50 countries within a short period of time. Even non-e-sports fans love their products. We believe the company has significant growth potential.”

Noting that Secretlab’s achievement in rising to become a “recognised global brand” in five years is no mean feat, Lau said: “We hope to add value and journey with them going forward.”

Heliconia also has gaming hardware manufacturer Razer and mixed-martial-arts promoter One Championship among the portfolio of companies it has backed. — TODAY

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