Watch CBS News

Project Home: East Bay Startup Aims To Solve Housing Crunch With 3-D Printing Technology

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX) -- While many blame tech companies for playing a role in causing the housing affordability crisis, an Oakland-based startup is hoping to be the solution.

Mighty Buildings just raised $40 million in its Series B funding round and has created seven 3D-printed ADUs or accessory dwelling units, that are out in the community already.

Chris Mcgougan owns number seven. Mcgougan said when he decided to build an ADU in his backyard for his parents to live in, he quickly learned how messy this kind of expansion can be.

"Number one, it was expensive, and number two, it was a lot of work on my part, and I'm not a contractor. I don't understand the business," Mcgougan told KPIX 5.

A little more than a year ago he learned about Mighty Buildings. The company cranes in prefabricated ADUs into your backyard and does all the inspections and paperwork for you.

"I really liked the idea of just saying here, take my check and you handle it," Mcgougan said.

"We're trying to disrupt the entire construction industry," Sam Ruben, Chief Sustainability Officer and Cofounder of Mighty Buildings said.

Ruben explains the ADUs are just a jumping off point, the real goal is to start printing single family homes, and multi-story homes next.

"A smile on a homeowner's face when you give him the keys, nothing, nothing beats that, but the ability to deliver units 30, 50, 100, 500 at a time, that's where we really start impacting the housing crisis," Ruben said.

One of the bragging points for Mighty Buildings is expediency. The company can print the 3D portion of the home in just 24 hours, assemble it in two weeks, and in just a few weeks time it can be someone's home ready to be lived in.

To really disrupt the construction industry, Ruben says everything needs to change, starting with streamlining inefficiencies.

"The construction industry is leaving over $1.6 trillion on the table every year due to a lack of efficiency and that's meaning more than one over 1.5 billion people by 2025 are going to be impacted by housing scarcity due to the lack of housing," Ruben said.

They want machines to take over the dangerous parts of the job, and create more housing more quickly.

Core to the mission is seeing the housing crisis and climate crisis as one, even though he's the company's chief sustainability officer Ruben says, "I really don't like the word sustainability because the reality is the status quo is not sustainable."

The affordability crisis is also at a breaking point, Mcgougan says he's sick of seeing people be pushed out.

"Everyone's important right? In a community, you need all types of different people but if not everyone can live here it will change the area forever," Mcgougan said.

It's this type of technological innovation that lured new talent and drove up home prices creating the affordability crisis in the first place, so can new tech print enough homes to pull us out of this mess?

"This is cool tech, this is a big problem. What might it look like to try and solve it with this?" Ruben said.

Mighty Buildings' starting price tag for an ADU is $187,000. The company's homes, which are 1,400 square feet, go for as much as $431,000.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.