There are a few numbers that seem to drive Blokable, the local startup company with deep-pocketed investors.
One is that global construction spending is a $10 trillion endeavor. Much in the same way HP Inc. is drafting ways to upend manufacturing with 3-D printers, Blokable has set its sights on disrupting housing construction as we know it.
Another number is more alarming: according to The Brookings Institute, more than 1.6 billion people will live in substandard conditions by 2025.
“We have to make big changes,” said Blokable CEO Aaron Holm.
With plans to mass produce sleek yet affordable housing units, Blokable has the designs for change. Its grand plan is to mass produce dwellings — called “Bloks” — cutting costs dramatically and making them more affordable. Its first product, the Microblok, is in essence a 260-square-foot studio apartment, with a living space, bathroom and kitchenette. Bloks can be combined and configured into bigger dwellings.
“Mass production is the big opportunity to drive costs out of the process,” Holm said. “The opportunity is to use advanced manufacturing, materials and fabrication to fundamentally change the way we build housing.”
Blokable’s production facilities are located in Vancouver.
Some big names and wealthy investors have bought into that idea. Recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show Blokable has raised $4.8 million in startup capital, backed by a mix of tech, real estate companies and organizations with tilts towards social justice.
Jason Calacanis, an entrepreneur and veteran of the dot-com boom, joined its board of directors. Based in San Francisco, Calacanis rose to prominence after founding Weblogs.com, which AOL bought in 2005, and he became an early, “angel” investor in ride-hailing service Uber.
Vulcan Inc., a real estate developer, philanthropic organization and investment firm from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen,…