Ryan started The Fun Empire, a leading team building and events company in Asia that provides the world’s most unique activities such as Bubble Soccer.
What’s your story?
Prior to starting The Fun Empire, I was working at McKinsey as a management consultant advising MNCs across the region on projects ranging from corporate strategy, digital transformation and organizational restructuring.
The inspiration for The Fun Empire came when my wife and I noticed a wacky activity that involved players wearing inflatable bubble suits to play soccer. We decided to bring it into Singapore and created our own proprietary games around this novel concept. We continued to grow pretty quickly and eventually became Singapore’s largest provider of bubble soccer and other Bubble Bump games. Thereafter, we continued innovating and developed other new and unconventional activities such as Saber Tag®, SaberFit®, Poolball™, Combat Archery™, Ninja Tag™ and Bullet Ball™.
What excites you most about your industry?
The events scene is such a diverse and multi-faced industry that has immense potential for innovation and creativity. Events are all about connecting and bringing people together, and that is what The Fun Empire strives to do through our unique and unconventional activities and experiences. The dynamic nature of this industry also allows us to innovate rapidly and incorporate new concepts into our products and services.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m grateful and proud to be a born and bred Singaporean. I’ve also been fortunate to have traveled extensively across Southeast Asia during my time as a consultant, and have been exposed to the region’s economic and cultural diversity.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Although it is a small country. Singapore has a business-friendly environment and is a great place for companies to start-up and gain initial traction. It is the gateway to Southeast Asia and also to the greater Asian region.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Aim for market-product fit instead of product-market fit. When you have determined that there is a strong and sustained demand for your idea, product or service, everything else will naturally fall into place.
Who inspires you?
Our team at The Fun Empire. They never cease to amaze me with their energy, creativity and tenacity. They continually inspire me to continue growing The Fun Empire and striving towards our vision of creating the world’s most unique and fun experiences for people.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I recently saw a video that featured how Haier grew from a small fridge company in China to become one of the world’s top major appliances brand. In 1992, General Electric attempted to acquire the company but was rejected by its CEO Zhang Ruimin. GE were furious and vowed to eliminate Haier when it entered the Chinese market. Fast forward to 2007, the tables turned and Haier acquired GE Appliances. It is amazing to see how the business landscape can change so quickly and it is great to see Asian businesses expanding their influence on the global stage.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I’m grateful for both the challenges and opportunities that have come my way.
How do you unwind?
Playing sports and staying active helps me relax and puts the challenges of the day into perspective.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. I love the serenity and lush greenery of the island that helps me to unwind and relax. The sun, sand and sea make for a great beach holiday, and there are also a ton of amazing restaurants and food places available.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Traction: How Any Start-Up Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Shameless plug for your business:
The Fun Empire is Southeast Asia’s leading team building and events company that has successfully served over 400,000 happy clients across more than 6,000 events. We provide the world’s most unique activities such as Saber Tag®, SaberFit®, Bubble Bump™, Combat Archery™, Poolball™, Ninja Tag™, Bullet Ball™ and many more. We have over 30 activities and workshops that cater to all age groups and profiles. The Fun Empire is also the only team building and events company in the region that has attained the ISO 9001:2015 Certification, the gold standard for quality management in the world.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.