30 Under 30: Alex Chan and Gavin Cheung are gaming the standing desk industry with MotionGrey

The pair have found great success with their gaming chairs and standing desks

Alex Chan and Gavin Cheung | Ages: 29

Co-founders, MotionGrey

Life Story: Alex Chan and Gavin Cheung have known each other since they were five years old growing up in Richmond. After high school, Chan went to UBC and Cheung went to SFU, but they remained close. Chan met Andy Hsu in the civil engineering department at UBC and the two bonded over a love of gaming. They soon started writing down a list of different business ideas. One of them was gaming chairs. So when Chan went to China to visit family, he spent some time at a fair that brought factories together to showcase their products. There, he met the manufacturer that would become his first supplier.

Chan brought on Cheung, and the three founders (Hsu is 30, so unfortunately does not qualify for this list) added standing desks to their portfolio. Things were going well, so they bought two warehouses in Richmond for a total of about $4 million. During COVID, the business exploded—“Both competitors that we know of scaled back in the pandemic,” says Chan. “They didn’t have the capacity to be bringing on 40-foot containers with spare parts and stuff.”

One of the keys to the business has been large orders from corporations looking to set up their employees with chairs or desks. “Last year we did a $300,000 order for a local Vancouver company,” says Cheung.

Bottom Line: In 2019, MotionGrey brought in about $1.5 million in revenue. These days, it’s close to $16 million annually, with 90 percent of those sales in Canada. About 50 percent of all new customers come through word-of-mouth, according to the founders. Expansion is next, as is investing in other companies. “That’s the next step: investing in these companies that have great ideas but it’s not e-commerce where they’re profitable immediately,” says Chan.