Gerdau Next Ventures Leads Round, With Additional Investments from Asahi Kasei, Unreasonable Collective and Others
Capital Will Fund Nation’s First Sustainable, Automated Factory to Support Both Panelized and Volumetric Modular Housing Production
RIALTO, Calif., December 06, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Plant Prefab, the first Certified B Corporation™ building technology company dedicated to sustainable design, materials, and operations, today announced that it has secured $42 million in Series C and other funding to support the company’s capacity expansion and increased multi-unit housing production. The Series C was led by Gerdau Next Ventures, the corporate venture capital program of Brazilian steel producer Gerdau, with additional investments by Asahi Kasei, Brown Angel Group, ICT Capital and Unreasonable Collective. The round also included debt and equipment financing from Western Technology Investments and ATEL Capital Group. All parties are existing investors in Plant Prefab, reflecting strong belief in the company’s growth and market opportunity.
"We are gratified by this vote of confidence from our investors, who recognize the opportunity to further scale our solutions for multifamily and single-family community developments," said Plant Prefab Founder & CEO Steve Glenn. "The Series C funding will enable completion of the Arvin Hub — Plant Prefab’s first automated factory and regional production hub and the country’s first hybrid panel and module manufacturing facility — which will provide the additional capacity, increased velocity, and expanded geographic reach to serve our target markets."
With a national housing shortage estimated at four million homes, the most in-demand urban infill and resort markets have been especially difficult for builders to address due to diverse local zoning and code requirements, skilled labor shortages, high labor costs, and/or short building seasons, all of which dictate tailored solutions. Plant Prefab’s patented Plant Building System™ was specifically designed for such challenges, utilizing advanced engineering in combination with specialized Plant Panels™ and Plant Modules™ to accommodate modular, panelized, and hybrid modular/panelized building solutions. The system addresses the design and buildability problems of all-modular or all-panelized approaches as well as the unpredictable timelines and labor challenges that can lead to massive schedule and cost overruns in site-based building.
The Arvin Hub will enable full industrialization of the Plant Building System, allowing Plant Prefab to take on larger multifamily and single-family community developments. At scale, the factory will be capable of producing over 900,000 square feet of housing (equivalent to over 800 housing units) per year, far more time and cost efficiently than the company’s existing two factories. The Arvin Hub will also expand Plant Prefab’s service area to the entire Western U.S., where the nation’s housing shortage is especially severe. The company’s pipeline reflects this demand: As of August 2022, contractual backlog totaled more than $85M and prospective business totaled more than $660 million, representing year-over-year growth of 58 percent and 110 percent, respectively. Contracts include workforce, affordable and market-rate housing spanning multifamily, single-family, single-family community and student housing developments.
In addition to completing the Arvin Hub, funds from this financing will also be used to bolster Plant Prefab’s engineering, product management, supply chain and project management infrastructure. Digital building data — produced by the company’s proprietary engineering platform — will be used to drive automated manufacturing equipment in addition to providing detailed instructions to project partners for efficient on-site installation and finish. The development of curated finish packages for all segments of the market will further streamline project planning and mitigate supply chain-related delays.
"Plant Prefab’s end-to-end solution ensures optimal efficiency throughout the project lifecycle. This holistic approach and proven ability to standardize almost any design into repeatable components makes the company uniquely suited to address the most high-demand segments of the housing market, especially urban infill, second home, and resort communities in the Western U.S.," says Rafael la Porta de Castro, Corporate Development Director for Gerdau North America. "Gerdau is proud to support Plant Prefab’s leadership in sustainable housing design, production, and operations."
Plant Prefab’s data-driven processes produce 30 percent less construction waste than site-based methods, and corporate responsibility initiatives spanning everything from material sourcing to component shipping efficiency have helped the company achieve carbon-neutral operations since 2020. The Arvin Hub is being constructed to Plant Prefab’s strict environmental standards for minimal resource consumption and will be fully solar-powered. The company plans to continue scaling its sustainable housing production through a hub-and-spoke model that will eventually serve the entire continental U.S. Standardized Plant Panels will be produced at highly automated, high-volume regional hub facilities with consolidated resources, while Plant Modules will be assembled at spoke facilities that are located closer to customers to minimize shipping costs and on-site finish work.
About Plant Prefab
Plant Prefab is the first Certified B Corporation™ building technology company dedicated to sustainable design, materials, and operations. The company’s patented Plant Building System™ utilizes advanced digital modeling and fully customizable Plant Panels™ and Plant Modules™ to help architects, developers, general contractors, and individuals design and build multifamily and custom single-family homes 20 to 50 percent faster than site-based methods. The system provides better quality control, design flexibility, and time, cost, and material efficiency than traditional methods of offsite or on-site construction. Plant Prefab has factories in Rialto and Ontario, California, a design studio and show home in Santa Monica, California, and a fully automated regional production hub in Arvin, California opening in 2023. With a mission to build a better world by design, Plant Prefab was the first housing prefabricator to announce a net zero goal and has achieved carbon neutrality in their operations since 2020. Plant Prefab is backed by leading investors including Amazon, Asahi Kasei, Gerdau Next Ventures, Obvious Ventures, and others. For more information, visit plantprefab.com.
Gerdau (NYSE: GGB) is a 121-year-old, Brazilian multinational and one of the largest global producers of long and special steel. Guided by its proposition to empower people who build the future, the company is present in 10 countries and has over 30,000 employees. Gerdau Next is a division of Gerdau with a mission is to diversify the global business portfolio through new, relevant and profitable investments within strategic segments. Climate change is an important topic for Gerdau within its business and sustainability strategy. Since its foundation 121 years ago, the company has been operating with a production matrix based primarily on recycling scrap and charcoal, which has placed it always among the lowest greenhouse gases emitters in the global steel industry. In 2020, the company started publishing its audited carbon data and is working on a strategy to further reduce its emissions.
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ICR for Plant Prefab