Seattle-based manufactured housing startup Blokable wants to raise $3 million in investor funding, and it has so far garnered $1.36 million toward that goal, according to an SEC filing, GeekWire reports.
The company’s single- and multifamily housing will be made of modular units ranging in length from 18 feet to 38 feet that can be fitted with features such as kitchens, bathrooms, windows and doors, as well as smart-home technology. The Bloks will be fabricated off-site and trucked to the job for assembly.
Blokable CEO Aaron Holm was a product manager for Amazon’s physical retail locations. The issues he encountered during the construction process, combined with his interest in shipping container construction, spurred the idea for the company.
Blokable is in good company, as offsite modular construction is gaining ground. Offsite startup Katerra for example, finished a Series C funding round with $130 million this spring. The Menlo Park, CA-based company takes orders directly from owners and creates the design from there. It then fabricates the components in a factory, ships them to the job and assembles them there.
Recent investor interest in startups like Katerra and Blokable, which use digital tools to make the construction process more efficient, could signal a trend. Other construction-tech startups have caught the eye of investors. PlanGrid, Fieldwire, Aproplan and Procore are among the companies to have raised cash for their work creating digital workflow tools for the field.
Other interest is coming from within the industry. Earlier this spring, co-working company WeWork bought FieldLens (another startup that had garnered millions from investors) to help grow its product and construction team. WeWork has charted a fast course fitting out office space across the country since it launched in 2010.
Last month, Caterpillar's venture capital subsidiary led an $11 million Series A funding round for Alight, a startup that offers real-time analysis of financial decisions for the mortgage and minding industries. The heavy-equipment maker previously acquired Yard Club, an equipment sharing and management startup, after being an investor in it.
Offsite construction methods, specifically, are gaining interest among owners and investors alike. Prefab builder FullStack Modular raised $6 million in Series A funding last month, which it plans to use to increase its operations, which serve residential, hospitality and student housing. Meanwhile, Marriott International has said it will use offsite, modular construction for some of its buildings in North America. Marriott has completed one modular hotel and it has four more in the works.