Brief

Startup Cover snags $1.6M to design, build personalized accessory dwelling units

Dive Brief:

  • Tech startup Cover Technologies will use its recent $1.6 million seed funding round from General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures to give a high-tech, energy-efficient spin to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), according to TechCrunch.
  • The company aims to make units affordable and accessible by using software to custom-design the houses. Cover's software allows clients to search for the types of accessory units they are permitted to build — based on local regulations — by taking users through a survey about their land and their intentions for the space, and then produces design options based on those answers.
  • Cover's program also generates construction renderings of the unit and provides a total cost for it, which ranges from $50,000 to $350,000, based on the unit's size, location and design, according to Inhabitat. The company currently only services clients in the Los Angeles area but is taking reservations for projects across the globe.

Dive Insight:

Across the U.S., ADUs and tiny houses are growing their presence in the residential market. Such units are seen as one possible solution for adding more affordable housing to a market squeezed for inventory. 

Similar to Cover, Kasita, an Austin, TX–based startup, is also turning to prefab unit production to help ease that area's housing shortage, according to Curbed Austin. At 352 square feet, each unit is stackable and features smart home tech integration, such as windows with adjustable transparency and Amazon Alexa voice controls.

While tiny homes and ADUs are starting to become more mainstream, such units are still struggling to gain traction in the market due to a lack of consistent national zoning standards and regulations. The 2018 update to the International Residential Code could give a boost to allowances for these structures, encouraging more municipalities to include sections for ADUs and tiny houses in their local codes.

The addition of tiny home lines by big modular and manufactured homebuilders, like Clayton Homes, could help them make inroads into the mainstream market. Clayon's 464-square-foot model tiny home will sell for $109,000 and debut in Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee this month.

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Filed Under: Residential Building Technology Design Corporate News
Top image credit: Cover Technologies