Robbie Antonio, the flamboyant son of bilyonaryo Jose Antonio, is the subject of unflattering reports that cast doubts on the viability of his much-hyped luxury, prefabricated homes startup, Revolution.
Two technology investment websites – The Ken and Digital Street Asia – poked holes in Antonio’s business model which promised to build designer modular homes in 60 to 90 days anywhere in the world – from Australia to Zimbabwe.
“But five years from inception, the company has yet to deliver on its promise of quick-to-build luxury homes in its home market, at least not at a rate that befits its towering valuation. Existing and external investors have also been hesitant to invest in the company during an unusually tiny fundraising round for what is supposed to be a billion-dollar business,” wrote Kristie Neo in her article in Deal Street Asia.
“When DealStreetAsia visited the Philippine projects, the sites looked incomplete and unoccupied. This seemed to be at odds with Antonio’s comments about erecting prefabricated homes in months rather than years,” said Neo citing Antonio’s Lakeshore project in Pampanga province; Revolution Hills in Rizal province; and Batulao Artscapes in Batangas.
The Ken’s Jum Balea said:”The (units) don’t look like prefab. While they may feature pre-crafted components, they’re largely built using traditional construction materials and methods,according to two of the company insiders. Indeed, Revolution Precrafted appears to be at odds with its original strategy.”
Apparently, Antonio has failed to get prefab suppliers at the price point he desired and has just opted to go traditional.
Balea described Antonio as “the greatest show…err..sales man” after managing to convince venture capitalists to fork out their money largely on a personal brand he built by being seen with A-list celebrities and getting puff pieces in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
After achieving unicorn status in October 2017 with the entry of Singapore-based K2 Global, Antonio went on tear drawing up prefab supply deals with top developers across the globe:
* $3.2 billion deal to supply prefab condo apartments and hotel villas for Dubai-based luxury developer Seven Tides
* prefab homes for Myanmar’s KT Group home project in Yangon
* supply 2,000 villas to Group Cacho in Puerto Rico
* residential villas for Bahrain’s Property One Investment
* hotel villas for BC Estudio in Spain
* residential and hotel villas for Cyprus Trading Corp. PLC
* 40 one-bedroom residential units with Inversioner Laguardia in El Salvador
* $460 million homes and hotel villas in Brazil
* residential prefab with Australia’s Lifestyle Village Trust
* produce medical pop-ups for African Tsaleach Private Ltd. in Zimbabwe
* residential units for a 10-hectare property in Peru
* mid-rise project with Alvardaq in Finland
Antonio boasted that Revolution could hit a $10 billion valuation in three to four years after “having thousands of hoes installed” worldwide.
Neo said she reached out to these companies but she got zero replies on the status of these projects status.
Both articles also chided Antonio for losing his focus on prefab housing by moving on to other business interests such as food shops, fitness centers, online auction of used apparel and accessories.
But Balea believes Antonio can still avoid being a bust by dropping extracurricular activities, getting a strong management team and expanding one market at a time “instead of shooting for the stars from the get-go.”
This led to project delays and just general confusion. As a result, what appears to be the final outcome looks nothing revolutionary at all…say former employees. https://t.co/t86AonMlSR
— kristieneo (@kristieneo) February 21, 2020
FLAVORSCAPES @ Lakeshore Mexico, Pampanga
Revolution Flavorscapes is a beautifully masterplanned community that boasts artful and design-forward precrafted homes spread over 70hectares of lush land in Lakeshore Pampanga, a mere stone’s-throw away from breathtaking man-made lake. pic.twitter.com/S4QPEhsV3R
— Kenji Santos (@kenj_santos) June 18, 2019
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM REVOLUTION
28 February 2020
Over the past days, several articles have been released and circulated by online publication sites relating to Revolution Precrafted reporting about the status of its earlier announced projects.
We want to address these issues by presenting facts on the status of the company’s projects.
In the projects mentioned by these online publications, the participation of Revolution Precrafted is limited to being the supplier of homes. We maintain an asset light business model which allows us to partner with any developer landowners, or fabricator.
We originally offered prefabricated homes, pavilions and related structures designed by global and local architects, designers and artists. However, as early as 2018, we have announced that we are expanding our product portfolio to include traditional structures in order to increase our customer base.
We announced our flagship project, the Batulao Artscapes in December 2017. This was followed by our Flavorscapes project which we formally launched to the market in April 2018.
In both projects, Revolution Precrafted serves as a supplier of homes. The developer of Batulao Artscapes is Century Limitless Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Century Properties Group, while the developer of Flavorscapes is Central Country Estates Inc. (CCEI).
As the developers, Century Properties and CCEI are responsible for the land and site developments of the projects. Only after being paid by the developers will Revolution Precrafted and its partner contractors build the homes. Construction of homes is anchored on timely payment of clients.
Since the launch of Batulao Artscapes, it offered homes that will be built using a combination of conventional construction methods and prefabrication.
On the other hand, the homes in Flavorscapes are homes built through conventional methods.
As of date, Batulao Artscapes and Flavorscapes are under continuous works exhibiting a combined construction of nearly 300 homes.
Century Limitless reported that it has sold 249 units, 124 units of which are already in-progress with an average completion of 67% as of Jan 31, 2020, and with an additional 68 units to start construction. Batulao Artscapes Village 1 land development is at 97%. All roads inside the village will be completed by the second quarter or 2020 while amenities will be completed in the third quarter of 2020.
In a statement, Century stated that: “Century Properties has been in the business of real estate development, marketing, and property management for 34 years and has completed, as of end 2019, 13,619 units in 24 residential buildings with a total gross floor area (GFA) of 994,166 square meters on top of retail, medical, and office buildings (a combined GFA of 182,620 square meters). In line with this long history and tradition of project completions, Century Properties remains committed to fulfill its contractual obligations to its clients in Batulao Artscapes and will ensure that the homes will be completed as agreed upon.”
For Flavorscapes, Land development at the Nest, Cocoon, Alcove and Spaces blocks, is at 51 percent with home Construction in full swing with 92 homes in varying stages of development and completion. Our partner developer Central Country Estates Inc. eyes initial turnover of Nest and Cocoon units in the middle of 2020. Construction of the Alcove and Spaces units on the other hand will begin late 2020.
A separate statement from CCEI said that the project is accredited by several banks who are currently financing existing home loans for third party buyers apart from offering in-house financing. Further, “CCEI wants to assure the public that the project is proceeding as planned, contrary to what has been reported earlier. CCEI is committed to deliver the Flavorscapes Project the same way as it has completed the 12 residential villages of The Lakeshore.”
Given the heavy demand in the Philippines, Revolution Precrafted focused on its local orders and pursued international projects through dealerships to make products more price competitive. This is considering that shipping and logistics add to costs and we want to empower local contractors/fabricators in the dealership territories to build our designs, under Revolution Precrafted’s supervision.
Aside from its goal of making design accessible, one of the original missions of Revolution Precrafted is to help more people realize their dreams of owning beautiful homes.
We would like to assure the public that the company remains committed to this mission and that it will continue to work hard to deliver homes to our loyal customers for both Batulao Artscapes and Flavorscapes.