Tash Tan, 30 and Chris Panzetta, 31
- Head office
- Year founded
Arts, design and media
The creative team at S1T2 know that virtual reality is going to be the new frontier for their clients – and since the creative agency appeared on last year’s Smart50, the game plan has involved heavy investments in the VR space.
“There is no established market leader in Australia for VR,” says co-founder Tash Tan.
“We believe in the technology as a great enabler for storytelling which is something we hold dear to our hearts, and was one of the main reasons why we started S1T2 – to tell great stories.”
Over the past 12 months S1T2, or Story 1st Technology 2nd, has been looking at developing intellectual property in the space, as well as getting its completed projects in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The agency has now worked on virtual reality projects for brands like Atlassian and HSBC.
The founders are wary that working all hours of the day and night has a use-by date, and the business is focused on building a strong network across the community to help add value to the company beyond the core team. This goal came about for two main reasons, says Tan.
“The first is the realisation that working 24/7 is not healthy over the long-term and that we need to cultivate the value and worth of the business, while the second is the sense of social responsibility and longing to engage the community around us.”
Earlier in the year, the agency ran a public art installation entitled “Fables from the Threshold”, featuring digital works from Australian artists.
“We ran this exhibit because we wanted to not only promote the work we were capable of producing – outside of client restrictions – but also engage the immediate community around us,” Tan says.
The result was 600 attendees on opening night and an opportunity to bring artists, clients and Redfern citizens together through the S1T2 brand.
When courting new clients, the business keeps its pitch simple, letting completed projects speak for themselves online.
“Tell us what you’d do with a super smart, seriously adventurous team,” says the callout on the company’s website. Prospective clients can then view previous projects, including virtual reality experiences created for Ford and a project for the Sydney Swans Football Club in which fans were given heart rate monitors for a game, with the results turned into graphics to track excitement throughout an AFL match.
The goal of the S1T2 team is to reach $5 million in revenue by 2020 – a marker that the founders believe they are on track to accomplish. The stakes are high, too; Tan acknowledges that if the company fails, it’s not just the staff that loses out.
“Our clients, staff and family rely on us to succeed, and in some of these cases their own livelihoods,” he says.
“Knowing that failure could lead to repercussions on the ones we love and care about is part of what drives us.”