In 1999, SmartLab started off as a humble set up with a rented classroom in a Civil Defence Shelter in Bishan providing english, mathematics and science tutorial classes.
During the founding years, the founders not only had to clear the bins, clean up the room and take phone enquiries, they had to develop teaching contents, teach and develop the business. In 1999, the private education market was already crowded with established players offering tuition programmes catering to large class size and respected individuals giving individual home tuition. The need to focus on a niche market and develop the education business was a challenging and humbling experience.
They identified that there was a Gap in the private education market: the provision of personalized quality tutorial classes to small class size of 8-10 students where teachers can provide the individualized attention to the learners, and at the same time engage the learners to interact, compete and learn from each other. There was also a lack of education centres that fully harness the use of Information Technology for education and the build up of knowledge capital capturing the various ways of teaching key english, mathematics and science knowledge.