For eight years, Andrew Chan enjoyed the comforts of climbing up the corporate ladder of well-established video game developer Electronic Arts (EA).
When his former EA boss, Rory Armes, departed the local office to launch the 3D software imaging company Gener8, Chan debated whether he would take his former manager’s offer to join him.
“I had to talk it over with the family because it is a risk,” he said. “I could be out of a job in a year because things didn’t work out.”
Things worked out. At Gener8, he helped oversee an initial public offering when he was in his mid-30s.
Chan admitted that while at EA he felt more like a cog in the machine.
“The higher-level role at Gener8 gives me the ability to make decisions – and [important] decisions,” he said, “[whether it’s] a direct influence on the bottom line or in terms of cash flow.”
When the company was going public, he was enlisted to help raise millions in capital for the startup. It was a challenging prospect in a country where venture capital is tough to come by in the tech sector.
“In Vancouver … it’s a very resource investor base. That’s their bread and butter. That’s what everyone knows,” he said.
“Especially in the industry we’re in, we had to really educate and try to tell investors this is the growth pattern to expect, and it’s going to be quite different compared to a mining company. That was eye-opening. Some people didn’t get it; some people did.”
But he said Gener8, which converts films from 2D to 3D, had the benefit of the Hollywood factor, which at least got the company a lot of meetings it may not have been able to secure otherwise.
Between the IPO and the private funding raises, Chan helped the company secure nearly $10 million. And within four years of its launch, he oversaw the company’s revenue growth from zero to $4 million.
His ambitions to help raise even more money for the startup are far from winding down. Chan is in the midst of negotiating a merger with a Chinese company that’s expected to fetch another $15 million in capital for Gener8.