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Razer: The History and Success of This Gaming Company

Gaming and esports have exploded in popularity over the past decade, becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. At the forefront of this growth is Razer, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance gaming hardware and peripherals. But who founded this iconic gaming brand that has become synonymous with cutting-edge technology and sleek, aggressive design?

Min-Liang Tan and Robert Krakoff – The Founders of Razer

Razer HQ

Razer was founded in 2005 by Min-Liang Tan and Robert Krakoff, who saw an opportunity to bring high-quality gaming gear to the growing legions of hardcore gamers. Tan served as the CEO while Krakoff took on the role of president at Razer.

Both founders brought unique skills and experience to the table. Tan studied at the National University of Singapore before working at various tech companies. He had a passion for gaming and recognized the potential for premium gaming peripherals. Krakoff, meanwhile, had an extensive background in product development, having worked at companies like Microsoft. His expertise helped drive Razer’s product innovation.

Driven by the lack of gaming equipment tailored specifically for professional and hardcore gamers, Tan and Krakoff aimed to manufacture peripherals with superior performance and distinctive aesthetics suited for gamers. And so, Razer was born out of this vision to fuse bleeding-edge technology and striking industrial design.

The Meaning Behind the Name “Razer”

The name Razer was chosen to signify the brand’s goal of developing razor-focused, high-precision gaming gear. Razer represents being on the cutting edge, and also references the razor-thin margins of victory in esports competitions.

The distinctive snake logo reinforces the name, symbolizing the brand’s spirit. Much like a snake is keenly focused when hunting prey, Razer concentrates its efforts on creating the absolute best gaming hardware.

Razer Takes Off – From Humble Beginnings to Gaming Stardom

Razer started operations out of a tiny apartment space in San Diego, which functioned as both office and manufacturing facility. Tan purchased computer mice at retail stores, took them apart to study their engineering, and hand-painted prototypes in his home.

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The first product Krakoff and Tan created was the Razer Boomslang mouse, which launched in 2006.Geared for precision gaming with a specially-designed ergonomic form factor, the Boomslang was a hit among gamers and marked Razer as a rising force in gaming peripherals.

Other iconic Razer mice followed, including the highly popular Razer DeathAdder, which became a top-seller and remains one of their most iconic gaming mice. Razer continued to expand their product portfolio by launching headsets, keyboards, gamepads and more tailored for gamers.

In 2011, Tan took on the role of CEO while Robert Krakoff became president of Razer, guiding the company into further growth and capturing more market share. Razer opened offices globally while investing heavily in research and development to roll out new generations of gaming technology.

Razer Goes Public – Soaring to New Heights

Initially a private company funded by venture capitalists, Razer’s tremendous growth presented an opportunity to go public. In 2017, Razer filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong stock exchange, valuing the company at over $4 billion. The offering generated over $500 million in IPO proceeds.

The successful IPO was a watershed moment in Razer’s history, cementing their position as the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers. As a public company, Razer gained more capital to invest in acquisitions and new technology like their gaming phone, while increasing brand awareness globally.

By 2021, Razer’s stock price had risen by over 200%, reflecting their dominant position in the gaming peripherals market along with growing profits. Razer’s revenue for 2021 exceeded $1.2 billion with healthy double-digit growth.

Acquisitions – Broadening Razer’s Ecosystem

In addition to strong organic growth, Razer strategically acquired companies that augmented their gaming ecosystem. Some key acquisitions include:

  • THX Ltd. (2016) – The iconic audio company that provides certification for theater sound systems. This allowed Razer to enhance audio technologies.
  • Nextbit Systems (2017) – A smartphone startup that laid the groundwork for the Razer Phone, the brand’s first gaming smartphone.
  • MOL Global (2018) – An online payments platform that strengthened Razer’s fintech and digital wallet capabilities.
  • Ouya (2015) – A microconsole company, whose software and developers helped advance Razer’s console projects.
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These acquisitions expanded Razer’s reach, technology portfolio, talent pool and ability to provide end-to-end hardware and services for gamers.

Razer’s Current Business Segments

Today, Razer generates revenue across two major business segments:

  • Peripherals Segment – Includes the design, manufacture and sales of gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, controllers and other accessories. This accounts for the majority of Razer’s revenue.
  • Systems Segment – Includes gaming laptops like the Razer Blade series and mobile devices like the Razer Phone. Also includes console projects.

Razer invests heavily in R&D, design and engineering to continuously roll out innovative products within these segments. They hold an extensive patent portfolio covering key technologies in areas like lighting, audio, wearables, haptics and more.

The company sells products through both B2C and B2B channels. For B2C sales, Razer leverages its global brand presence and a network of retail partners like Best Buy. On the B2B side, Razer works with major game publishers and eSports teams.

Razer has also built out an ecosystem of interconnected software and services like Razer Synapse (a unified configuration app), Razer Chroma (RGB lighting system), and Razer Fintech to provide added value.

Razer’s Cutting-Edge Industrial Design

From the very beginning, Razer bucked the traditional boring designs of most computer peripherals by utilizing an aggressive, gaming-centric aesthetic. Their products stood out with sleek black shells, customizable RGB lighting and Razer’s serpentine logo.

Razer products possess an evident “Designed for Gamers by Gamers” mantra with thoughtfully designed ergonomics built for long hours of comfortable gameplay. The premium, durable materials and precise machining Razer utilizes provide products with a sublime look, feel and performance.

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Over the years, Razer has retained their edgy ID philosophy while continually improving construction and usability. They hold an extensive array of design awards, and their products are displayed in tech and design museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Razer Today – The Leading Brand for Gamers

From humble dorm-room beginnings to a publicly traded company worth billions, Razer has become synonymous with elite gaming equipment. They are uniquely positioned as the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers.

Their relentless focus on their target demographic helped Razer dominate the gaming peripherals market. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and understanding what gamers demand, Razer continues to be at the forefront with each new generation of gaming peripherals.

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Going forward, Razer is poised for even greater growth as gaming continues gaining popularity. Razer is also expanding into new product categories and investing in emerging technologies like virtual reality. Much like a high-performance sports car, expect Razer to continue pushing the limits of innovation and maintaining their competitive edge for years to come.

So the next time you’re considering buying a new gaming mouse or headset, look for the Razer insignia of quality. And remember – it all started from the vision of two entrepreneurs, Min-Liang Tan and Robert Krakoff, whose unique partnership founded the legendary brand that is Razer.

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