$1.9 million




Tash Tan, 31, and Chris Panzetta, 33

Head office

Sydney, NSW

Year founded





Marketing and communications


Most SMEs would say their most successful marketing efforts come from word-of-mouth, or a targeted advertising campaign. For digital creative agency S1T2, however, the biggest marketing success story was a competition.

Back in 2013, software giant Adobe asked their creative community to reimagine their logo. S1T2 took a different approach through a live performance and real-time data visualisation that debuted at the Sydney Opera House.

“Working collaboratively with a pianist and dancer to create the performance, we were able to explore the relationship between a creative and their tools through human interaction and artistry,” says co-founder Tash Tan.

“Then, by gathering live data from this performance and visualising it through real-time computer graphics, we used emerging technology to comment on the potential impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the creative industry as a whole.”

It worked. Adobe promoted the event through its digital channels which resulted in 82,000 views across Facebook and Instagram alone.

It’s a different approach, but Tan thrives in a unique environment, he says. The business is focused on finding new digital solutions for advertising and creative work; virtual and augmented reality are staples of work at the company.

In particular, the company’s focus on real-time data solutions has allowed it to approach clients with new and bold approaches that other business aren’t touching yet.

“We believed that in order to deliver meaningful creative executions, there was a need for agencies to better understand the technology that would bring them to life. As we built the company, we focused on bringing together a multidisciplinary team – from creatives to animators, designers to developers – who would be able to blend creativity with technology in a way that traditional creative agencies couldn’t,” says Tan.

This is S1T2’s third time in the Smart50, having made appearances in 2015 and 2016 too. The company has grown its revenue by 64% over the past three years.

The next steps are to tackle China and the Asian market, which represent massive opportunities for VR. But for all his business ambition, Tan says he has another goal: a zero percent churn rate “by allowing the team to pursue the cutting-edge work they’ve been dreaming of”.

“A big part of that process is trusting in our people,” he says.

“We encourage every member of the team, no matter their role, to contribute to the business in any way. By doing that, we’re able to leverage a truly diverse pool of knowledge and ideas to form a robust understanding of how we can shape our business.”