How this Freelancer Bootstrapped Singapore's Best Motion Designing Company
At 24, when most of the people are in college or are applying for jobs in companies to learn how to work, Benjamin Ang gave Singapore its one of the best motion design companies.
Three years ago when there was no craze for motion graphic studios in the Asia Pacific region, Ang started Genesis Motion Design to give businesses a new direction in online branding and marketing. With a new range of animated videos and graphics, Ang built a huge clientele by getting major giants on board like Audi, Facebook, MTV, Singtel, DBS Bank etc. “Back when I started Genesis, there weren’t many studios in the APAC region that was making waves, unlike the motion graphics landscape in say… the US or the UK. And I thought that was an opportunity that we could explore, something that could help put Singapore’s design and art scene at the forefront of the APAC region,” says Ang.
While following his graduation from NYP, Ang worked as an intern with the US-based motion studio in BLIND. During his internship, people’s approach towards art and culture and their self-driven attitude of work in the US inspired him so much that he decided to bring the same in Singapore. “While I was there I fell in love with the culture, beliefs and their organizational structure - I wanted to find one in Singapore,” says Ang.
From starting on his own to becoming an ace entrepreneur, here’s how Ang carved a niche in motion designing without raising any external funds yet till now.
From Freelancer to Founder
Benjamin recalls spending “every bit of free time” he has to work, sacrificing quality time he “could have and should have” spent with his family and friends.
“Before I started my own company, I was freelancing. And one of the upsides of freelancing is that I can take a break whenever I want or don’t want to.”
“A lot of people think that starting your own company means more freedom and work-life balance, yada yada, but it isn’t all that easy,” he explains.
Employee welfare, work performance, and work quality among others are some of the responsibilities of a business owner, says Ang.
As a boss, one of the major concerns is to help employees’ grow, nurture and not overwork them.
Starting a business from an initial investment of $15K was not easy at all. When Ang started the business not many knew about motion designing and one of the major challenges of his journey was to educate people about motion designing. Reminiscing his old days, Ang says, “During the first year, we were juggling and taking in as many projects as we could in order to keep the company afloat. So many weekends and nights were burnt trying to meet deadlines, we were all running on fumes, there was no time for family or even friends.”
Challenges and Learnings
Talking about the challenges he faced in his initial years, Ang says, “A lot of people still do not see the value in motion graphics which in turn causes the undermining of the work that we do. So one of the biggest challenges we faced and are still facing now is trying to help people see the value in motion graphics.”
The second biggest challenge is, finding the right people for the job. “This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when we’re not trained to pick up on non-verbal cues and kinesics that could help greatly in differentiating a good candidate from a bad one,” says Ang.
“But over these years, I’ve learnt the importance of workflow hierarchy and resource allocation when it comes to the differing skill sets of my team,” he adds.
The company has not raised any external funds till now for business. One of the major reasons is the Ang’s fear of losing the direction and culture of the company. “Unless the belief and wishes that I have for Genesis is shared, and will help push the company to the forefront of the motion design industry internationally, then will I be willing to explore chances of raising funds externally," he emphasizes.
What Differentiates the Brand?
There is no direct competitor, claims Ang. Within Singapore, there are no design studios focusing on 2D and frame-by-frame animation. “2D animation is often the foundation for many designers, a stepping stone to other techniques such as 3D, which is what a lot of them are doing. So instead of offering something similar, we decided to push the creative boundaries of 2D animation by offering something special that no one else on the market can,” says Ang.
So what differentiates the brand? “Our concepts and our fluid execution,” says Ang. “We take our conceptualization and ideation very seriously. Instead of showing and telling the obvious, we take pride in the drawing of metaphors and similes that we often do in our projects. This helps to keep things visually interesting, while still retaining our clients’ goals in mind,” he explains.
There are a lot of studios overseas who does great 2D animation work, like what we do, but those studios are the ones that we look up to and aspire to be. We definitely hope for the day to come when we are able to confidently call them our competitors, haha.
Playing the Esports Card
One of the core interests of 27-year-old founder also includes esports as he is also an avid gamer. Under his leadership, the company also worked for esports clients. Today the company’s portfolio includes big names like EA, Riot Games, and computer hardware maker, Razer.
The company is looking to explore and excel in other industries as well, on top of the esports sector. In the last three years, it has recorded an average 10 per cent growth every year.