Dealflow | April 11, 2023

Blokable scores $5.5 million to build affordable modular housing units

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, April 11 — New housing stock is needed to alleviate the U.S. housing affordability crisis. Sacramento-based Blokable has raised $5.5 million for its solution, which the company claims optimizes square footage for new developments along with environmental sustainability.

Blokable spent $30 million over six years to build its modular development platform; Blokable says it can stack modular housing units (or bloks) up to five stories tall. The bloks are 95% complete when they leave Blokable’s factories for assembly onsite, reducing building time and costs.

Deploying Blokable’s model could reduce 60% of greenhouse gas emissions and 91% of material waste by 2030, according to a 2021 paper from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Energy-efficient housing

At Phoenix Rising, a $1.5 million pilot project with the state of Washington, Blokable built a one-story, 12-unit building that provides permanent housing for low-income families. Located in the Seattle suburb of Auburn, each all-electric unit is ventilated to mitigate bacteria, molds and other unhealthy particles. Blokable says heating, cooling and other utility costs for the units are cheaper than traditional units.

California dreaming

The investment from Kapor Capital and Cercano Management (formerly Vulcan Capital) will help Blokable scale its manufacturing to meet the demand from low-income renters in California. “An estimated 3.5 million new housing units [are] needed in California by 2025,” said Blokable’s Aaron Holm. At full-scale, Blokable hopes to produce enough modular units to build more than 2,000 apartments annually.