Plant Prefab Announces $30 Million Financing and the Opening of a Second Factory
RIALTO, California – August 3, 2021: Plant Prefab, the first Certified B Corporation™ prefabricated custom home builder dedicated to sustainable design, materials, and operations, today announced it has raised a $30 million in financing. The Series B equity round was co-led by Asahi Kasei Corporation and Paris Ventures, the corporate venture capital program of Brazilian steel producer Gerdau. Returning investors include Amazon Alexa Fund, Plant Prefab being the first and only home builder within the portfolio, Ferguson Ventures, and Obvious Ventures. As part of the round, Western Technology Investments and ATEL Capital Group provided venture debt and equipment financing.
With this financing, Plant Prefab today announced the opening of a second factory in Ontario, California and the construction of a third factory, set to open in 2022. The second factory is a 20,000-square-foot facility designed to build complete projects for shipment directly to job sites, mirroring the capabilities of the company’s first factory. The third factory will be Plant Prefab’s first automated facility, enabling full industrialization of its patented Plant Building System™, which combines advanced engineering with specialized Plant Panels™ and Plant Modules™. The Plant Building System enables Plant Prefab to build custom single-family and multi-family homes 20-50% faster than traditional building methods with up to 30% less waste at a 10-25% cost savings in major cities. The company’s third, automated factory will serve as a central production hub to existing and future Western U.S. factories, utilizing sophisticated new equipment to achieve even greater production velocity with quality assurances and a level of material efficiency unmatched by any other home builder.
“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. “We are honored to partner with Asahi Kasei, which owns one of Japan’s largest home builders, and Gerdau, one of the biggest steel producers in the world, and we are grateful that all of our existing institutional investors, including the Amazon Alexa Fund, Obvious Ventures, and others, participated in the round at a super pro-rata level.”
Long-standing challenges to home building, including limited availability of skilled labor, rising material and labor costs, and unpredictable project timelines make Plant Prefab’s customized, time- and cost-effective approach a welcome solution. The company’s production contracts have grown by over 175% in the past 12 months alone, and the growth is expected to continue due to a variety of factors, including a limited availability of new homes (especially in California), increasing consumer interest in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), growing second home communities fueled by more flexible working arrangements, and historically low interest rates. Plant Prefab expects that its second and third factories will easily accommodate the demand, while facilitating the company’s expansion into other Western states.
Rising demand in urban infill markets will continue to bolster Plant Prefab’s growth given its focus on custom architecture. While most prefabricated home builders focus on standard designs, Plant Prefab’s approach allows it to address urban infill challenges such as high costs for land, labor and permits, oddly-shaped lots, and restrictive zoning requirements, which require custom design solutions. Plant Prefab customers can work with any architect they choose, or personalize one of the company’s award-winning LivingHome designs created by Ray Kappe, KieranTimberlake, Yves Béhar, Brooks + Scarpa, and other world-renown architects and designers. Plant Prefab’s engineering-led virtual build process bridges the gap between design and construction, enabling the efficient factory production of almost any design, by any architect. Plant Panels and Plant Modules are custom-configured to meet the requirements of the design and sized to accommodate the conditions of the lot. This also allows Plant Prefab to serve design approaches and properties that many other prefabricated home builders cannot—locations inaccessible for large modules, the large trucks required to deliver them, and/or the large cranes required to install them.
Healthy, sustainable design and construction remains a hallmark of Plant Prefab homes. In 2020, homes designed and built by Plant Prefab performed an average 30% better than California Title 24 energy efficiency standards. The company has designed more than two dozen homes that achieved LEED for Homes Platinum or Gold certification, making Plant Prefab one of the most experienced designers and builders of healthy, sustainable, high-performance homes.
In 2019, Plant Prefab became the first prefabricated home builder to announce a net zero goal, pledging to achieve full carbon neutrality in its operations by 2028. The company has already achieved net carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting, but is implementing initiatives to reduce both the embodied carbon in the materials it uses, as well as the operational carbon of the homes it builds.
"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," says Rafael La Porta, Director of Gerdau Next North America. "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."
“We continue to be excited about how Plant Prefab is transforming residential home design and construction,” said Paul Bernard, Director of the Alexa Fund. “The company’s LivingHome design now comes standard with Alexa integration and offers a glimpse into the future of the home.”
Additional participating investors include Cthulhu Ventures, ICT Capital, Anchor Capital Advisors, Arba Group, Highwater Capital Group, Brown Angel Group and Unreasonable Collective.
ABOUT PLANT PREFAB
With a mission to build a better world by design, Plant Prefab makes it faster and more efficient to build custom, high-quality, healthy, single-family and multi-family homes. Plant Prefab is the first Certified B Corporation™ prefabricated custom home builder dedicated to sustainable design, materials, and operations.
The company's patented Plant Building System™ enables Plant Prefab to efficiently construct almost any design, by any architect. Combining advanced engineering with customizable Plant Panels™ and Plant Modules™, the Plant Building System provides greater design flexibility, quality control, and time and cost efficiencies than both site-based construction and conventional prefabricated approaches. Clients can work with any architect they choose, including Plant Prefab's award-winning, in-house design studio.
Plant Prefab is defining a new standard in residential home design and construction, helping individuals, architects, and developers efficiently design and build high-quality, cost-efficient, healthy homes. Plant Prefab was funded by Asahi Kasei, Gerdau Paris Ventures, Amazon Alexa Fund, Obvious Ventures, and others.
In 2019, Plant Prefab committed to full carbon neutrality in their operations by 2028, the first prefabricated home builder to announce a net zero goal.
Plant Prefab homes have garnered significant industry recognition including the AIA’s top sustainable award, Architizer’s Jury and People's Choice Awards, Green Builder Magazine’s Home of Year, Business 2.0’s ‘World’s 11 Coolest Products,’ and Businessweek’s “Architectural Wonders of the World.” Nearly thirty Plant Prefab homes have been certified LEED for Homes Platinum, including the first home ever to achieve the certification.
ABOUT ASAHI KASEI
The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber business, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 40,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to sustainable society by providing solutions to the world's challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. Its health care operations include devices and systems for acute critical care, dialysis, therapeutic apheresis, transfusion, and manufacture of biotherapeutics, as well as pharmaceuticals and diagnostic reagents. For more information, visit www.asahi-kasei.com.
ABOUT PARIS VENTURES
Paris Ventures, corporate venture capital program of Brazilian steel producer Gerdau, invests in and supports entrepreneurs transforming the world. Paris Ventures partners with visionary entrepreneurs to transform big ideas into big businesses. In addition to the investment, Paris Ventures supports portfolio companies through consultation on management, advising and executive connections, global commercial introductions, manufacturing, distribution, metallurgy, and international expansion opportunities. For more information, visit www2.gerdau.com.br/paris-ventures.