In 2015, Marc Chua saw an opportunity arise. “That was the year I noticed how the running and triathlon scene was booming, and with that, the potential that was mass participant events in Malaysia was seized, which ultimately led to the birth of Ultron.” Since then, Marc hasn’t looked back. Ultron has since become a leading homegrown sportswear and lifestyle brand in Malaysia, winning multiple prestigious awards; it was crowned Malaysia’s Superbrand by Superbrands International in 2018.
On the success of Ultron so far, Marc can only gleam with pride at how far the brand has come in the space of just a few years. “I’ll always remember our first apparel sponsorship – it was to the Viper Challenge in 2015 – and since then, we’ve come leaps and bounds. I am beyond proud of how the brand has grown over the years.” To date, Ultron has worked with 3,000 running and cycling events, as well as duathlons and triathlons, including the internationally renowned Powerman Duathlon and Ironman. Imagine this: that’s approximately three million t-shirts!
To conceptualise an idea is one thing, to will it into existence is another. For Marc, it was a game of chance. “In addition to taking advantage of the growing market of mass participant events such as running, cycling, duathlons and triathlons, the idea of Ultron also came from a decision I made to transform myself. In all honesty, I was never an athlete in my younger days. In fact, I wasn’t in the greatest of shape due to the unhealthy lifestyle I had. Through running and proper dieting I got back into shape, and it was the countless feedback I got from avid runners that fueled my resolution for Ultron. Furthermore, I was lucky to already have been involved in the family business of apparel manufacturing. The biggest lesson here really is to grab your opportunities.”
Ever wondered how the right running apparel can boost your performance? “People always say that a pair of running shoes is all you need to run. That is true to some extent, but let’s say you take running seriously; it’s at that point you realise how it takes more than just a pair of shoes.
The shirt you wear matters so much in how it weighs before and after absorbing sweat. These small factors really attribute a great deal to overall performance.” Taking this into account, Marc, who sees constant innovation as the ultimate means of staying ahead, ultimately led Ultron in producing the lightest t-shirt in Malaysia. At only 75 grams, it’s an achievement that was recognised by The Malaysia Book of Records in September 2018. “Business aside, to be recognised for our work on innovation is one of the biggest achievements Ultron has had thus far.”
So what’s next for Ultron? “A lot of people have asked me regarding my plans for international expansion. We have of course left an impression of our brand in the Middle East through our collaboration for the Gulf Bank 642 Marathon 2017, but for now my main focus is to grow Ultron in Malaysian soil.” He emphasised the importance of having a strong foundation here. “To enter the market of another country is to enter a totally new arena. That being said, imagine how we’d fare in a new arena when we have yet to conquer our own arena? International expansion will come in due time.”
It’s been just a little over three and a half years, but Ultron has stayed true to their tagline since its inception, making waves rather than mere ripples. With the brand slowly taking over Malaysia, it’s only a matter of time before Ultron lands on international shores.
This feature first appeared in the April 2019 print issue of Augustman Malaysia.