Plant Prefab, a prefabricated custom homebuilder focused on sustainable design, materials and operations, has raised $30 million in financing in a Series B equity round, the company announced on Tuesday.
The funding announcement came in tandem with the announcement that the company has opened a second factory in Ontario, California, and is working on a third factory (location was not disclosed), which will open in 2022.
The second factory will be similar to the company’s first factory, operating out of a 20,000-square-foot facility, and building projects for shipment to job sites.
However, the company’s third factory will be its first automated facility, making use of the company’s patented Plant Building System, which will allow Plant Prefab to build homes 20 to 50 percent faster than traditional methods, according to a press release. The automated factory will also produce up to 30 percent less waste at a cost savings of 10 to 25 percent. It will ultimately serve as a central production hub to all current and future Western U.S. factories.
“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,” Steve Glenn, founder and CEO of Plant Prefab, said in a statement. “It’s a step change in custom homebuilding, making it significantly faster, easier and more sustainable to build beautifully designed, healthy homes.”
Plant Prefab’s contracts have increased by over 175 percent in the last year, according to a press statement, and the company anticipates demand to grow as low interest rates continue and inventory remains sparse, especially in places like California.
The company noted that its custom designs are particularly suited to infill markets (vacant lots between other developments), where it can easily adapt designs to oddly shaped lots or restrictive zoning requirements. Customers of the builder can choose their own architect or select one of the company’s designs created by several renowned architects like Ray Kappe and Brooks + Scarpa.
The funding round was co-led by Asahi Kasei Corporation and Paris Ventures. Paris Ventures is the corporate venture capital program of Gerdau, a Brazilian steel producer.
“As part of Gerdau’s growth strategy and commitment to sustainability, we are incredibly excited to partner with Plant Prefab with an investment from our venture fund, Paris Ventures, to support its journey to build sustainable architectural homes,” Rafael La Porta, director of Gerdau Next North America, said in a statement. “The custom prefabrication of homes is poised to grow dramatically, and we believe Plant Prefab’s approach and proven technology will allow the company to continue to be a market leader with potential to scale nationally and internationally.”
Other returning investors included Amazon Alexa Fund, Ferguson Ventures and Obvious Ventures. Western Technology Investments and ATEL Capital Group also contributed venture debt and equipment financing. In addition, Cthulhu Ventures, ICT Capital, Anchor Capital Advisors, Arba Group, Highwater Capital Group, Brown Angel Group and Unreasonable Collective also contributed funds.
Plant Prefab is a Certified B Corporation, meaning the company “balances purpose and profit,” according to Certified B Corporation’s website, and is “legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.”