Nicholas Chan

Nicholas Chan

Entrepreneur, 36

Starting a business can be unpredictable but Nicholas Chan has nurtured his entrepreneurial streak since his teenage years, starting his first IT trading and consulting enterprise with a classmate while studying at a local polytechnic. The firm did well, enabling him and his business partner to make a “comfortable living”. Today, Chan is the founder and director of venture capitalist firm Azione Capital, co-founder of OpenRecruiters, a cloud-based recruitment platform and Maelstrom Asia, a military simulation paintball war-gaming company. Being an entrepreneur typically involves frequent communication, so it may come as a surprise that Chan was diagnosed with mild autism in his late teens, which he spent “living in [his] own world…ignoring or minimising human contact.” Chan has since come a long way. His accolades include winning the Young Professional of the Year award at the IT Leader Awards organised by the Singapore Computer Society in February. But he remains down-to-earth about his accomplishments. “Everyone has the same opportunity to be called to greatness, no matter one’s situation or background,” he says.