Dealflow | August 20, 2019

Blokable secures $23 million for modular housing that promises affordability

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, August 20 – A third of U.S. renters are cost-burdened from housing and every state faces an affordable housing shortage. (Even rural renters feel the pain.) But in the commercial real estate world, developers will say they only build high-end housing because it’s the only market where the economics work.

Housing manufacturer Blokable has raised $23 million to fix that. The Seattle-based company has developed a modular housing system that can be manufactured affordably and quickly constructed for either market-rate or affordable housing projects (without that stacked shipping container aesthetic.) Blokable manages the entire development process, from design, planning and manufacturing to delivery, on-site construction, and ongoing operational support.

The process was designed to have “a transformative impact on our acute housing crisis” and development generally, Blokable’s Nelson del Rio said in a statement. The company has built a model unit, but hasn’t delivered on full projects as yet, GeekWire reports.

The company’s Series A financing round will be used to build a second manufacturing facility and ramp up production for West Coast projects.

The round was led by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment firm Vulcan Capital, with backing from Building Ventures, LAUNCH, Kapor Capital, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, Motley Fool Ventures, Ten Eighty Capital, and angel investor Dennis Joyce. Kapor Capital noted that its investment was based on the company’s potential to provide “well-designed, well-constructed housing” to people “across the entire socioeconomic spectrum.”