Contech Funding Stream for Fast-Build Housing

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Building technology companies that can accelerate the construction of new homes are attracting an infusion of new venture capital funds.

San Mateo, Calif.-based modular home builder VEEV recently announced a $400 million Series D funding round, which the company says will be deployed to scale operations, accelerate R&D initiatives and build additional digital manufacturing production facilities across the United States.

Veev is using pre-engineered panels to assemble homes on site in a process the company says is four times faster than building traditional homes, according to a press release.

Veev’s funding round was led by Bond, with participation from LenX, Zeev Ventures, Fifth Wall Climate Tech and JLL Spark Global Ventures.

Austin, Texas-based ICON, which uses 3D printing to build homes, recently raised $185 million in new funding. ICON in 2018 built the first licensed 3D printed home in the United States, a 350 square foot house printed with concrete in a process that took two days.

Diamond Age, a Phoenix-based robotics startup that uses automation and 3D printing to create on-demand housing, raised a $50 million Series A funding round led by Prime Movers Lab, with seed investors such as Alpaca VC, Dolby Family Ventures and Timber Grove Ventures.

Diamond Age is developing 26 arm-length robotic tools that the company says will offset more than half of the manual labor needed to build a new home. The startup is also working on additive manufacturing tools that move along a gantry system to layer concrete and “print” a house, according to the company’s release.

With labor shortages plaguing the construction industry, builders are increasingly turning to robotics to speed up construction. The use of robotics in large-scale home construction is most appropriate in developments with open space for machine access, which may not be suitable in building renovations if pathways need to be laid to robot mobility.

Robotic masonry units are increasingly being used in the construction industry, with one entry saying they can cut the time needed to lay the foundation for a new home down to two or three days compared to the traditional norm three to four weeks.

Australian robotics company Fastbrick Robotics recently introduced what it says is the world’s first completely autonomous bricklaying robot, the Hadrian X, which can lay bricks 10 times faster than humans, according to the company’s statement.

According to reports, the Hadrian X recently broke its own speed record, laying 200 bricks in one hour.

Contech players are also tackling the difficulty of securing building materials in an era of supply chain congestion. RenoRun, a Montreal-based e-commerce platform, recently raised $142 million in Series B funding to expand its online marketplace for building materials, including lumber, drywall, hardware and paint.

RenoRun allows contractors to customize their orders for multiple job sites.

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