Technovate, Out of the Box
Spinning in the Right Direction
SPINNING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
As a small public relations agency catering to
technology start-ups, The Right Spin cancertainly
empathise with its clients. Itself a start-up, The Right
Spin was founded by friends Stacy Ang and Nancy Lim,
both former employees of the National Science and
Technology Board (NTSB), now called Agency for Science,
Technology & Research or A*Star.
What sets this company apart from other tech-based PR
agencies is the founders’ strong grasp of its clients’
technology business. As the marketing communications
head at NSTB, Ang was handling the PR for technology
start-ups. Her partner, Lim, was the assistant marketing
communications head at NSTB. With the relevant
experience and a strong domain knowledge of the IT
industry, Ang felt she had an edge of the other
IT-centric PR firms that were being set up to cater to
the dotcom boom a couple of years ago.
So, instead of sticking to their steady jobs, both she
and Lim decided to strike out on their own. “I guess you
can say we were inspired by the start-ups that we were
dealing with all the time,” she says.
To keep costs low, they started out by sharing an office
with another tenant. “We only took a small space,” Ang
says. Their big break came in the middle of last year
when Iaxil, the landlord of the Innovation Centre at
Science Park II, invited them to relocate at a special
rate to services the various start-ups there. In return,
Ang says, she offers special competitive rates to the
start-ups located at the centre.
The Right Spin caters to the niche tech start-up
industry, which may sometimes be neglected by the larger
PR firms. After all, there are not big fish we are
talking about. Although the dotcom bubble has burst
since Ang began her business two years ago, the company
has decided to maintain its focus on helping tech
start-ups with media relations. After all, it’s their
niche, and if you can’t differentiate, it’s hard to make
a mark in this highly competitive industry.
But it’s not as if they’ve been starving for business.
Ang and Lim have been lucky in that they’ve not had to
work too hard for new business. Ang says new clients are
mainly referrals and since the last quarter o last year,
they’ve been getting at least one serious lead every
fortnight. Typically, 50 percent of these leads actually
materalise into new business for the company. But they
have been selective, preferring clients in the
technology business and those that “value PR on a
long-term basis”, says Lim.
The Right Spin is currently in the enviable position of
having more business than it can handle. The company –
which has four employees, including the two founding
partners – usually handles four to five accounts at any
one time. These accounts are typically on a one-year
retainer basis, although they also welcome and undertake
Ang is now considering hiring more people in order to
cater to the rush of new business coming in. It
certainly looks like she’s spinning in the right
‘SIMPLE’ to maintain a balanced life
Although she company, The Right Spin, is a PR start-up,
Stacy Ang does subscribe to the idea of working long
hours – something that may be common in the PR industry
and de rigueur with most start-ups. “Long hours may be
common in the industry I work in but there is a way to
get around it,” she says.
The attractive 31-year-old, who comes across as friendly
and down-to-earth, says she and her partner, Nancy Lim,
33, are family-oriented individuals who believe in
leading a balanced life. “We may be very busy but we
need to lead a hurried life” is Ang’s philosophy. Easier
said than done, right? She doesn’t think so.
Ang says it’s simple. She managed their time well by
keeping completely focused during working hours. No
dilly-dallying, No wasting time talking unnecessarily
with colleagues. No making constant trips to the
washroom. Just heavy-duty work during office hours.
After hours is a different matter, of course. Then it’s
time to unwind, relax and do things she likes.
This is something she tries to inculcate in her two
staff too (it’s a small company). She’s currently
looking to grow the staff size but finding people with a
keen interest in technology as well as an attitude and
aptitude to learn “is not really easy”, she says. “It’s
always a challenge to find like-minded people to join
The main satisfaction that Ang derives from her work is
seeing her start-up clients grow from day to day,
knowing that her work actually contributes to their
development. She says she will do “almost anything” to
help her clients succeed. Talk about commitment!
She has no regrets leaving behind a steady and secure
job for the life of a start-up. The experience of
setting up her own company and turning it into a
sustainable, viable business is her greatest reward.
Taking the entrepreneurial route has made a difference
in her life and she is relishing every moment of it.
“Although NSTB ( National Science and Technology Board)
is a bit different from other statutory boards, there
are still certain rules there that you have to follow,”
says Ang. “When you start your company, you crate your
own rules. So instead of going by the book, you write
your own book.” And, that’s just the way she likes it.