This Startup Is Probably The Most Underrated In S’pore – Quietly Rakes In S$1M Annual Turnover

When we were younger, there were only a few outlets that allow us to unleash our creative side such as playing with Lego bricks, or maybe doodling on textbooks during classes.

For Elijah Yang, his curiosity to figure out how things work, hack together things and compose music, has made him quite a polymath.

At age 15, he built a Tesla coil to perform experiments in creating high-voltage electrical discharges. He put together a power supply, a capacitor and coil transformer set so that voltage peaks alternate between the two.

When he’s not getting his hands dirty building things, he composes music and does piano transcription such as Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto in his free time.

It’s no surprise then that he combined his interest for building things and creating music to delve in the manufacturing industry.

Right after graduating from university – back in 2013 – he founded Airbnb’s Singapore office / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption]

Yang was very humble about this impressive portfolio though, and simply attributed this achievement to “very good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)” instead.

“That’s how our customers can easily find us on Google,” he laughed.

A Cockroach Startup

Aural-Aid may be a bootstrapped startup yet it is able to rake in about $1 million in revenue annually – which is no mean feat.

“Our revenue is growing at about 50% each year, but we’re kind of like a cockroach startup,” said Yang.

A cockroach startup is one that is constantly struggling, yet it still goes forward in spite of changing environments, market conditions and investment scenarios – just like a cockroach.

They are the ones who are capable enough of knowing where they should spend money and where they shouldn’t. As such, Yang figured that running a lean startup is the right way to go.

Aural-Aid have a very small team of about four to 10 people (depending on hiring season) – but the key idea here is quality over quantity.

[caption id="attachment_608123" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aural-Aid team / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption]

Yang makes it a point to “hire very carefully”.

“We put our new hires through a two-week induction programme where they just have fun and be themselves. This two weeks will show more than any interviews can ever reveal,” he added.

It’s clear that over the past three years, Aural-Aid has grown bigger and better.

And if we take this in the literal sense, their office space has actually gotten bigger with every move; they have shifted offices four times to date.

From a humble warehouse storage place, they shifted to a small office in 2013, then moved to a larger office the following year.

Finally in 2015, they garnered enough funds to buy their own two-storey office space, which they promptly named the “Aural-Aid headquarters”.

The concept of their new office space is very modern and exudes a hip vibe. The decor aside, the office features very cool facilities such as capsule beds, a $10,000 glass bathtub and rainforest shower (!!!), in-house carpentry workshop, and a FabLab which is equipped with a 3D printer and CNC machine.

[caption id="attachment_608125" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aural-Aid HQ / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption] [caption id="attachment_608057" align="aligncenter" width="700"] In-house carpentry workshop / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption] [caption id="attachment_608058" align="aligncenter" width="700"] FabLab and capsule beds / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption] [caption id="attachment_608124" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Glass bathtub and rainforest shower / Image Credit: Aural-Aid[/caption]

”Having our own capsule beds in the office allows us to take power naps during work, which actually increases productivity. I remember a particular intern who slept four hours during her first day at work! They can also take a hot bath at our showering facility to freshen themselves up if they’re sleepy.”

These facilities make it clear that Aural-Aid is serious about both work and play. And if these have enticed you to work in this cool startup, then good news: they are looking to grow their team and have a couple of In Food-Loving Singapore, These DIY Food Startups Just Aren’t Whetting Our Appetites – Here’s Why