For entrepreneur Victor Neo, 38, information technology (IT) has paved the way for him to fulfil an inventor's dream.
"It's always been my passion to invent something using a combination of tech and creative media," said the co-founder and chief executive officer of SGX-listed experiential technology solutions provider Revez Corporation.
"It's not about creating new products per se, but rather, products that are commercially viable and useful."
Mr Neo, an information systems graduate from the University of London, began his journey in the multimedia industry when he co-established advertising agency D'zire Media in 2008.
Two years later, the seeds for the founding of Revez were planted during a conversation with long-time friends Wayne Lee Han Chong and Lawrence Lim Kian Sing.
"We foresaw the boom in digital media demand, especially in the areas of interaction between humans and machines, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence," recalled Mr Neo, who also has a digital marketing certification from the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore.
Revez specialises in application solutions for businesses and the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry, delivering interactive and immersive digital experiences for end users.
Coined from the French word "reve", which means to dream, the company reflects the three founders' shared vision of a future led by experiential innovation.
"We complement each other's strengths - Lawrence possesses a wealth of knowledge in rich media content development and multimedia technology, while Wayne is an IT inventor with more than 15 years of technical and creative expertise," said Mr Neo. "With my family's history in the manufacturing and shipping businesses, I bring operational and strategy management expertise to the table."
In 2016, Revez began mulling over a public listing as funding needs increased.
"A lot of demand was coming in, but as a privately owned company without an anchor investor, it was difficult for us to bid for large projects. Customers also had less confidence in us."
Two years later, Mr Neo was introduced to the then executive chairman of listed troubled timber flooring specialist Jason Holdings.
"We decided to pursue an RTO of Jason Holdings due to time and cost factors," said Mr Neo, referring to the reverse takeover process where a company relists under a new identity on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
"Our priority was to catch the surge of demand as technology can change or become obsolete in the blink of an eye. Many players are eyeing the new media space and we couldn't afford to miss the boat."
A FULL-SERVICE COMPANY
The RTO, conducted through a share swap deal, was completed in May last year. Revez, which began trading on SGX's Catalist board last June, has a current market capitalisation of nearly $50 million. Mr Neo was appointed CEO and deputy board chairman, while Mr Lee was named chief creative technology officer, and Mr Lim, the chief operating officer.
Today, Revez is a full-service company delivering immersive, interactive virtual and multimedia experiences. It specialises in the design and development of customised applications through its intellectual property platforms as well as a range of other tools, including immersive artificial intelligence (AI), software-as-a-service and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Its portfolio includes digital library solutions for the National Library Board, a digital experience and rewards mobile solution for the National Parks Board, the Land Transport Authority's Singapore Mobility Gallery project, and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau's CPIB Heritage Gallery project.
Mr Neo said: "What makes us unique from other IT companies is that we provide end-to-end solutions for each project, and everything is done in-house - which includes mobile apps, print and websites, as well as the IT support that encompasses both front-and back-end."
For the six months ended June 30 last year, the group swung to a net attributable loss of $13.2 million, from a net attributable profit of $1.3 million in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 16.7 per cent to $2.5 million.
The net loss was due mainly to the group's RTO of Jason Holdings. At the operating level, the group achieved a profit of $200,000.
As of June 30 last year, Revez had cash and cash equivalents of $9.3 million. It also has approximately $3.8 million in outstanding sales orders that have not been recognised as revenue, of which $2.2 million was Singapore Government related.
Looking ahead, Revez remains focused on key areas such as machine intelligence, IoT and 5G immersive AI solutions.
"We want to merge AI data analytics with IoT and 5G into a fully immersive experience - this allows us to offer the elements of personalisation and customisation," Mr Neo said.
• This is an excerpt from Singapore
Exchange's Kopi-C: The Company Brew, a column featuring C-level executives of SGX-listed firms. Previous editions are on SGX's website www.sgx.com/research