The OBSESSION of Robbie Antonio
He sits on design panels with basketball star Amar’e, on gala committees with Cindy Sherman, and on top 100 lists with Miuccia Prada. He attends the most exclusive, star-studded events around the world, but he’s also a very private individual who lives in
THERE’S A MONTAGE IN HBO’S SILICON VALLEY where startup founders pitch their product at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference. They each earnestly and nerdily claim that their app is going to revolutionize the world and/or make it a better place, using the rhetoric of technological determinism to capture the deep pockets of venture capitalists who hope to fund the next Uber or Airbnb. The Philippines, in actuality, has its very own contender in the quest for unicorn status—that is, a company with a valuation of $1 billion—and it is one with roots in property development. “The revolution has begun!” declares Robbie Antonio, future-unicorn founder, sounding not unlike the Elon Musks of the world. Of course, he’s referring to Revolution Precrafted, the startup that’s got the VC world abuzz.
Earlier this year, startup accelerator 500 Startups (incidentally founded by Dave McClure, one of the supposed inspirations behind the “incubator owner” Erlich Bachman character in Silicon Valley), poured money into Revolution, bringing the company’s valuation to $256 million. 500 Startups, which has been zeroing in on Southeast Asia as the next area of explosive growth, has successfully backed Grab, the Singapore-based ride-sharing app now valued at US$ 3 billion. “We’re very happy. One of the world’s more prolific seed venture capital companies funded us. They fought their way to come in, because we were funded already for our seed round,” says Robbie, who often speaks enthusiastically, if not forcefully, that one can’t help but yield to his vision. “The reasons are twofold—one, it’s extremely, and I hate to use such a cliche word, disruptive, and two, it has a proven business model. I’ve been doing real estate for over a dozen years.”
Robbie has been the managing director of Century Properties, the real estate development firm established in 1986 by his father Jose E.B. Antonio, and is responsible for the company’s direction toward branded collaborations like the Milano Residences by Versace, Acqua Livingstone by Missoni Home, Azure by Paris Hilton, Forbes Media Tower, Armani for Century Spire, and their newest luxury residences, the Trump Tower. At the Design Miami fair last December 2015, Robbie launched his own company, Revolution Precrafted, showing a dining