Cover, a modular house builder modeled after Tesla, has raised US$60 million in Series B financing – TechCrunch

2021-11-04 02:00:07 By : Ms. Susie Wu

There are now many start-up companies dedicated to modular home design. The most interesting of these is Cover, a 7-year-old Los Angeles company that says it manufactures complete wall panels, floors and roof panels in a factory, then transports them in standard trucks and assembles them on site-no cranes.

The materials it uses are light steel for building frames and aluminum for ceilings. These panels are made of rubber composite material because, as founder and CEO Alexis Xavier Rivas explained, “Drywall is not designed for manufacturing or transportation— —It's too crispy."

Obviously, people have thought a lot about the design of these buildings. For example, the company installs all pipes and wires on the ceiling, so if the owner wants to lay new wires or pipes, she or he just needs to pop out of the ceiling.

This sounds strange, but it is much less than sawing a series of holes in the wall, then patching them and repainting them to achieve the same purpose. (It also needs the help of fewer craftsmen, such as plumbers and electricians who are in short supply.)

Other materials used include solid wood and wood composite materials for the floor and exterior, as well as non-porous solid countertops and bathroom floors, which means they are more hygienic. As these things develop, as the world gets rid of the pandemic, this Homeowners are becoming more and more important.

How the materials are put together naturally becomes more important, because with Cover, most of the focus and commitment are on rapid assembly and customization.

According to Rivas, the process works as follows: The client and the company work together to create the design. Currently, the design is limited to single-storey units of 1,200 square feet or smaller, but considerations such as where the windows should be placed to minimize energy waste must be taken into consideration. (Rivas also pointed out that the windows made by Cover have passed LEED certification, and its houses are airtight, which greatly improves energy efficiency.)

Cover then adopts an agreed design, the price is predetermined, including license fees, city fees, foundation fees and the house itself-think about 200,000 US dollars for a 400-square-foot studio; 250,000 US dollars for a 600-square-foot one-bedroom unit; one A 1,200-square-foot three-bedroom home was up to $500,000-it began designing these components.

Somewhat surprisingly, it says that after the foundation is completed, it can build and install the building within 30 days instead of the 120 windows promised to customers in the past.

If the necessary license cannot be obtained, it also provides a 100% money-back guarantee, as well as a lifetime structural warranty and a one-year warranty for all other products.

Rivas said these buildings "will not rot." "They will not be eaten by termites." On the other hand, if customers need new air filters, "we will replace them."

Rivas grew up in Toronto, studied architecture at the university, and worked briefly in a number of construction companies before founding Cover. He was proud to be able to attract engineers from SpaceX and Tesla to participate in this task. Zhou mentioned several times in a conversation at some time, comparing Cover's process to that of an automaker.

He doesn't seem to be the only one who sees the similarities. The company announced today that it has raised $60 million in Series B financing, led by Gigafund, an investment company founded by two former founder fund investors, who are betting heavily on SpaceX.

Also participating in this round of financing are Valor Equity Partners and Founders Fund-both of which are early investors in SpaceX and Tesla-and a large group of other well-known backers, including General Catalyst, Lennar, Fifty Years, AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, Chris Sacca, founder of Lowercase Capital, Bruce Richards, CEO of Marathon Asset Management, and Arash Ferdowsi, co-founder of Dropbox, etc.

Of course, given the shortage of housing and construction across the country, there is no shortage of demand for what Cover is building. In fact, when asked about Cover's sales team, Rivas stated that there is so much inbound interest now that "one person only spends one-third of his time selling."

As for what people order, Rivas said that most of the company’s customers have purchased houses to accommodate any family that moves in (aged parents, a child who has returned from college); creating a home office outside of their house ; Or establish a way to increase rental income.

Despite this, in addition to the approximately 20 backyard houses that have been built, the company has now raised a total of 75 million US dollars and is very planning to start building larger multi-storey houses and multi-family houses.

Rivas said this mainly comes down to the use of more panels, and the company will be able to produce these panels from the 100,000 square foot factory moved into the 25,000 square foot warehouse it currently operates. (This is where part of the 60 million dollars is going.)

In fact, he said that if everything goes according to plan, in the near future, even existing customers can use the Cover app to easily expand the houses they have already purchased. According to him, this will be fast.

"You will continue to use the application, click on the room you want to add, then make arrangements, pay online, and complete the renovation within two to three days."

This is the kind of curtain puller known to Elon Musk. Now see if Cover can pull it down.