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Construction technology startup Mighty Buildings just raised $40 million from investors in a Series B round of funding. Khosla Ventures and Zeno Ventures led the round together, which also included a handful of other investors.
The company came out of stealth (unveiled itself to the public) in August of 2020.
More on Mighty Buildings
Mighty Buildings says that it can handle the entire homebuilding process from permitting to finishes. The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Alex Dubov, said, "We aim to unlock productivity in construction by introducing new materials, 3D printing, and robotics to the industry...Basically, what we are making a reality is to be able to build in a more sustainable, efficient and affordable way."
How they do it
To be clear, Mighty Buildings does not actually print the houses onsite. Instead, the company 3D prints modular panels in a factory that are then installed onsite.
The company’s 3D printers use a thermoset composite material that it invented called Light Stone Material (LSM), which hardens when exposed to UV light, making it more effective than traditional building materials.
The process has five key steps:
- The Mighty Building team conducts a free (remote) feasibility study.
- A site assessment takes place that costs $1,000.
- The contract is signed along with a $15,000 fee, which triggers design/engineering preparation, a soil report, and the start of the permitting process.
- Mighty Buildings works toward permit approvals and the fabrication process begins.
- The panels are delivered and installed.
Mighty Buildings has completed roughly a dozen projects in California and continues to take orders. The company has seen a 30% increase in contracted revenue quarter over quarter since June, which doesn’t include its business-to-business contracts.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, often called additive manufacturing, is the process of taking a digital 3D model and constructing a solid object from it. 3D printing was initially used for prototyping in preparation for going into large-scale manufacturing.
The technology has developed to the point where it's economically viable to weave 3D printers into a part of the manufacturing process, which allows for customization at scale. And now we’re seeing it in construction.
The implications for construction and real estate
The construction industry is struggling to find skilled labor, which, when combined with a housing shortage, opens the door for this type of technology to proliferate. In other words, we need more housing, but we’re struggling to keep up with the demand.
Other startups using 3D printing to build houses
We recently saw the first 3D printed house go on the market in New York. Created by SQ4D Inc., the house is listed for $299,000, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a 2.5 car garage. From the pictures, it looks just like any other house. The listing agent says that this home is priced 50% below other new builds in the area.
Apis Cor built the world’s largest 3D printed building to date back in 2019. The two-story, 640-square-meter footprint structure was built in Dubai. To demonstrate that the process could handle the elements, the Apis Cor team completed the project out in the open. Apis Cor is in the process of building a demo house in Louisiana and has been selling its robots to builders in the southeast.
The Millionacres bottom line
Modular and 3D printing technologies are converging and making their way into construction. It will be important for developers and builders to keep an eye on this type of innovation and to ask questions about how this will impact construction costs and project-delivery speed moving forward.
We’re in the early innings right now with adoption beginning to penetrate single-family real estate. Affordable housing will probably be next.
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