Pre-Fab Home Builder Raises $65 Million

Pre-Fab Home Builder Raises $65 Million

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By Kevin Brass | June 27, 2013 12:27 PM ET

An ambitious developer of pre-fabricated homes has raised $65 million as it looks to create a market for its "green, precision-built" houses.

Massachusetts-based Blu Homes will use the money to build 15 to 20 model display homes in key markets around the U.S., the company said in a statement.

"This investment will provide easier access to Blu's homes for thousands of families all across America," said Blu Homes senior vice president Brett Chisholm.

Blu-Homes-Breezehouse.jpgThe company was founded in 2008 by "serial entrepreneur" Bill Haney and former venture capitalist Maura McCarthy. The company's proprietary technology allows the homes to be constructed in a 250,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Vallejo, California, and then easily folded and compacted for transport. On site the elements can be easily "unfolded" for construction.

Software allows customers to create precise 3-D images of their homes. Technology also allows for precision structural changes, cutting construction costs.

"We're a technology company that builds homes," Ms. McCarthy once told a reporter.

Pre-fabricated homes have long-struggled to find a mass audience. Problems with manufacturing, the cost of materials and the need to transport components over long distances diminished the cost-effectiveness and efficiencies of the concept.

Blu-Homes_Sunset-Breezehouse-CA-ext-1.jpg"The state of modern prefab is not good at all," writer Allison Arieff, who tracks the market, told Forbes in 2011. "If you figure it's already a niche market, and it never claimed to be otherwise, you already have a small percentage of an overall housing market that is crummy."

Blu announced a $60 million round of fundraising last September, led by Netherlands-based Skagen Group. At the time the company said it had raised $69 million since it launched in 2008. Angel investors included Abby Disney, the grandniece of Walt Disney, Forbes reported.

All Blu homes are LEED Silver certified and solar-ready, the company says. They also feature "recycled steel framing, radiant heat flooring, high R-value walls and energy-efficient appliances," and can achieve net zero energy status with the inclusion of other green elements.


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