There’s a new player in the construction 3D printing market: Mighty Buildings, an Oakland, California-based startup with a focus on automated home building solutions has just progressed beyond stealth mode. The company, which has raised an impressive $30 million from investors (including Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, SV Angel and CoreVC), was born through the Y Combinator seed money startup accelerator in 2018.
Mighty Buildings has a distinctive vision for the future of housing construction, one that combines 3D printing with prefab techniques to automate and streamline the building process. To achieve this vision, the young company has developed a production-as-a-service platform that can reportedly automate up to 80% of the building process. 3D printing is leveraged to produce a range of housing components, which can lead to 95% fewer labor hours (producing structures at double the speed of traditional construction), and 10x less waste.
The company has demonstrated its technology by printing a 350-square-foot studio unit in less than 24 hours (a timeframe that seems to be the benchmark for printing homes). It now has two fully installed dwellings completed: one in San Ramon and the other in San Diego. Mighty Buildings does emphasize that its platform is project- and design-agnostic, meaning it can be used for a wide range of applications, from small complex housing components to “full-size volumetric modules.” The company’s technique is also capable of producing custom floor plans thanks to its software-driven, design-to-production process and the low price of its Light Stone Material (LSM). This material is a specially developed lightweight, fire resistant and energy efficient stone-like composite.
To date, Mighty Buildings has already received certification through the California Factory Built Housing program for its automated 3D printed housing approach. It is also the first company to have been granted a certification under UL 3401 for evaluating 3D printed building structures and assemblies.
“Because we’re building homes for people to live in, we’ve been very deliberate in carrying out our vision to make housing better. This isn’t software that can be debugged on the fly,” explained Slava Solonitsyn, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “We’re now ready to scale our production with full confidence in our certifications and code compliance for both our material and technology.”
The newly unveiled company also offers a cost value for its printed homes: while a conventional “stick-built” home in California reportedly costs $327 per square foot, Mighty Buildings says its automated home building technology can achieve rates up to 45% cheaper. This is largely due to the lower labor costs associated with 3D printing (20-30% lower than traditional prefab methods).
“With a strong foundation in robotics, manufacturing and sustainability, the Mighty Buildings founding team knows the different facets of the issues that face modern housing,” concluded Eric Migicovsky, Partner at Y Combinator. “Accessory dwelling units are just the start in further building out their unique approach to building.”