- Blokable — a vertically integrated developer known for building high-quality, low-cost, and connected housing — has raised $23 million from an all-star team of investors
Blokable — a vertically integrated developer known for building high-quality, low-cost, and connected housing — announced it has closed a $23 million Series A round of funding. Vulcan Capital led the round and YB (Yongbai) Choi is joining Blokable’s board of directors. Building Ventures, LAUNCH (a syndicate accelerator and investment company built by Jason Calacanis), Kapor Capital (venture firm launched by Lotus and EFF Mitch Kapor), Marc Benioff (Salesforce founder, chairman, and co-CEO), Motley Fool Ventures, Ten Eighty Capital, and angel investor Dennis Joyce.
This round of funding will be used for supporting Blokable’s product development and manufacturing expansion for its West Coast project pipeline. And the company is growing its product development team and adding a second manufacturing facility in the Sacramento area to better service California projects.
“We’re very pleased to complete our Series A financing with mission-aligned investors,” said Blokable co-CEO Aaron Holm. “From the beginning, it has been crucial that we partner with investors who understand our vision of applying a systems-based solution and product development methodology to the heavily regulated real estate development industry. Vulcan stepped up to lead the Series A and we’re excited to have YB Choi join our Board of Directors. We have an outstanding team and Board and we’re very excited for the next phase as we lay down the product, technology, and supply chain foundation for a network of regional Blokable manufacturing and real estate development centers.”
Ever since Blokable launched in 2016, the company has been reinventing the development process with a global first — a vertical platform that integrates design, planning, permitting, almost completely off-site manufacturing, delivery, on-site construction along with ongoing operational support into one transparent and easily managed service.
“It’s clear to us that the housing sector is long overdue for inventive business models, technology innovation, and new market creation,” added Choi. “Blokable has the right team and the differentiated business model to break through the structural issues that fuel the continuing housing crisis in this country. Our conviction in Blokable’s potential has led us to reaffirm our support for the company and its vision.”
The Blokable Building System essentially allows standardized manufacturing while creating endless site variation. By combining physical standardization with a vertically integrated business model, Blokable drastically reduces the cost and time of developing real estate while delivering a higher quality product that lowers long-term operating and maintenance costs.
“Throughout my decades of work in law, real estate, and finance, I’ve never seen a model that can have such a transformative impact on our acute housing crisis or development in general,” added Blokable co-CEO Nelson del Rio. “We have leveraged the unique skills of our team members to create a manufactured, as opposed to constructed, physical product that empowers a business model that generates wealth. Our development model eliminates risks and the substantial legal, technological, and operational costs that bloat every project and suck equity out of owners and communities. We’re grateful to have the support of like-minded investors and partners in our vision.”
Many landowners, investors, and nonprofit housing service providers work with Blokable for more efficient alternatives to traditional development. And the company’s process creates lower-cost real estate projects that generate real estate equity for Blokable and its partners in market-rate projects and for the community through nonprofit projects.
“Our team tracks every development in the built environment,” explained Building Ventures general partner and co-founder Travis Connors. “We’ve invested in Blokable because we believe that while housing is a challenging space, Blokable has developed an approach that can surmount those obstacles and truly scale.”
The proprietary Blokable Building System — which is currently being built in the company’s first factory in Vancouver, Washington is unlocking previously unavailable efficiencies through just-in-time manufacturing of standardized and prefabricated components called Bloks. The Bloks can be easily combined and stacked into a variety of configurations and floor plans ideal for both market-rate and affordable multi-family housing as well as hotels.
“We’re thrilled with the massive progress Blokable’s team has made in building its development platform, cutting per-unit production time and costs allowing them to drastically undercut multi-family housing prices in metropolitan markets,” Jason Calacanis commented. “We’re excited to have worked with Blokable since April 2016, investing in every round and supporting their important vision.”
Blokable also disrupts housing creation models that maximize industry profits at the expense of communities. And Blokable’s one-stop solution de-risks and accelerates the construction of affordable and modern housing where it is needed most while giving its partners and customers absolute certainty on cost, product, and quality.
“We invest in firms that are committed to bridging inequitable gaps in access, opportunity, and outcome,” noted Mitch Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital. “Blokable’s success means people across the entire socioeconomic spectrum will have access to well-designed, well-constructed housing. We fully support Blokable’s vision and look forward to helping them succeed in the coming years.”
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