San Bernardino startup Plant Prefab lands $30M Series B Funding

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

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Aug 17, 2021

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Plant Prefab, a San Bernardino startup that builds prefabricated homes raised $30M in its Series B funding. The startup’s funding news sounds exciting, especially as it plans to open a second factory in Ontario, California. Plant Prefab claims its key differentiation is building offsite homes 20-50% faster than traditional builders.       This investment allows us to fully integrate our engineering platforms with our production process, utilizing our proprietary building information management (BIM) systems to drive machinery, advanced factory quality controls, and production tracking. It’s a step change in custom home building, making it significantly faster, easier, and more sustainable to build beautifully-designed, healthy homes,” said Steve Glenn, Founder and CEO of Plant Prefab

Affordable housing crisis and startup funding in prefab construction

California in the grips of an affordable housing crisis. This is a major milestone for startup funding in San Bernardino as Plant Prefab prepares to inject massive cash into its operations and future growth. This Rialto, CA-based upstart is competing in a soon-to-be crowded market. Other prefab and tiny home startups,  Abodu, Mighty Buildings, Black Porch Homes, and Connect Homes, all early stage startups raised $65M in 2021. The breakup of their funding is given below.  
  • Oakland-based Mighty Buildings, a 3D printing homebuilding startup, raised $40M Series B backed by Khosla Ventures and Zeno Ventures.
  • Abodu raised $20M to build prefab backyard homes 
  • Connect Homes, with a factory in San Bernardino secured a fresh funding of $5M    

What’s up with offsite construction?  

Onsite construction is plagued with age-old problems like cost overruns, lack of efficiency, and worker safety issues. This is where offsite construction promises to deliver better return over investment. Money is flowing into the sector faster than before.  Large companies like Marriott and Alphabet are all dabbling into prefab construction. Marriott built a modular hotel and Alphabet spent $30M on temporary, prefab housing for 300 of its employees. As large companies show interest in solving the housing crisis on their own, Investor money has also increased.  VC funding in the mid- to late-stage modular construction companies shows a sharp uptick. Factory OS, Katerra, Blu Homes, Project Froq, and Prescient, prefab construction scale-ups nabbed in excess of $2 billion in VC funding in last three years (this excludes PropTech startups which is a bigger category that attracted $18.6 billion from 2015 to 2017).  But investments can quickly evaporate as well, as in the case of Katerra that recently underwent a $25-million bankruptcy acquisition. It was the most well-funded startup with $1.6 billion in funding, per Crunchbase data. The company had $60M worth of manufacturing equipment which it gave to the acquiring company as part of the deal. This marks a massive devaluation of the startup’s assets. Interestingly, Katerra was bought by Volumetric Building Companies (VBC), another offsite and modular construction technology company showing that investors are confident about the industry’s long term prospects.
Koto Phia Iternal Desktop Cropped

Image Courtesy: Plant Prefab

This brings us to Plant Prefab’s expansion plans according to which the company will soon open two factories. The company’s ambitious plans are also bolstered by historically low interest rates, a lack of affordable housing in California, and the passage of ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) laws. It reported a surge in its production contracts by over 175% in the past 12 months alone.  Next week we plan to interview Plant Prefab’s leadership and understand how what they are trying to accomplish is different from Katerra’s strategy of developing most of the technologies in-house. We will also dig into the team behind Plant Prefab that has kept the startup’s  growth consistent over a longer period of time.     For a more detailed understanding about business growth in the Inland Empire, you may read this article that explains infrastructure and demographics in the Inland Empire.

Author

  • Avatar Of Sharjeel

    Sharjeel joined Startempire Wire as emerging technologies editor. Earlier, he worked at Silicon Canals, a leading English language technology media source for the Benelux and wider Europe. He covered the European technology and startup ecosystem digging into latest funding rounds of startups.

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