Polygonal Successions by Eduardo Calma, a prefab townhouse complex in Batulao Artscapes.
Photo from revolutionprecrafted.com


MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2018 - 12:00am

We have a unicorn in our midst, and that isn’t fake news.

Unicorns come in all forms and features, depending on where you are in the world.

In the West, a unicorn is a mythical or legendary creature that has been described since time immemorial as a beast, usually in the form of a horse, with a single pointed horn, either straight or spiraling, projecting from its forehead.

In the East, particularly in Japan, the unicorn or kirin (yes, where the beer brand got its name) is a fierce creature, also with a single horn, that is able to fight crime by punishing perpetrators with a straight pierce through the heart of its horn.

In the world of business and finance, however, a unicorn is a start-up company that is valued at over $1 billion.

Revolutionary Precrafted founder and CEO Robbie Antonio standing behind one of his company’s prefab units.

It was a term that was first coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee (of Cowboy Ventures fame), who chose the mythical or legendary creature to represent the statistical rarity of these successful ventures.

In the housing and real estate sector, Revolution Precrafted is a “unicorn” that is making quite a buzz here and abroad.

Revolution Precrafted is a global supplier of pre-fabricated homes, museums, pavilions, pop-ups and condominium hotels or “condotels,” which are designed by a group of 80 or so top architects, artists and designers known all over the world like Zaha Hadid, I.M. Pei, Jean Nouvel and Tom Dixon, just to name a few.

And the brains behind this start up is Standford University (MBA) and Northwestern University (Economics) graduate Jose Roberto Antonio, known to many of us as Robbie.

Revolutionary Precrafted founder and CEO Robbie Antonio has been described as a real estate developer and serious art collector (he is into pop art and abstract expressionism).

In my many encounters with this tech-driven entrepreneur, I realized that Robbie was more than just a real estate developer, more than just a company head. He is both an innovator and disruptor.

Facet House by Budji+Royal Architecture+Design. Photo from revolutionprecrafted.com

Robbie was featured on Titans, a new and groundbreaking show I host on the One News Channel (Channel 8 on Cignal TV) that airs every Friday at 9:30 p.m. (with replays on Saturdays and Sundays).

The question that he had in mind when discussing his projects was: “How do I disrupt the very world I’m in?”

For one, he said, with the developers, he did not compete with them but collaborated with them. Indeed, this is something extraordinary and counter-intuitive in the highly competitive Philippine real estate industry.

He also mentioned that ubiquity was a keyword for his success, merging that with technology and “different-shading” it with art and architecture design.

The three key elements to the success of his pre-fabricated designer structures are that they are built fast, affordable and with high design. It was his ardent desire to be able to share luxury with the greater population.

His ultimate mission is to leave a legacy, to grow his company into the $10-billion to $20-billion range. Within that ambitious roadmap are plans to go into socialized housing and disaster relief.

Housing, or the lack of it, for a big segment of the population, has been a perennial problem with no clear end in sight. Perhaps he can provide the solution.

With Robbie Antonio during the interview on Titans inside one of the model units. Photo by Leo James Conde

Robbie is a prime example of how nothing displaces or replaces hard work.

Looking at Robbie’s itinerary, one gets awed by the sheer volume of travels, meetings and a plethora of activities.

To be able to juggle all of these and to maintain his sanity, he follows a strict exercise regimen. I surmised he does it to also ensure he fits into his designer clothes. The man has sartorial taste.

Robbie recently bagged the 2018 Philippine Real Estate Personality of the Year award for turning Revolution Precrafted into a “unicorn.” Reportedly the first Filipino unicorn.

He likes to be challenged as much as he likes challenging himself, just like his father, Ambassador Jose E.B. Antonio, the founder and chairman of Century Properties. Success, vision, passion and perseverance run in their genes.

Yes, indeed, Virginia, unicorns are real and there is one in our midst.

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