San Diego’s AGORUS, a construction tech startup that’s developed software to digitize and automate home building, said Thursday that it has raised $6.5 million in a seed round of venture capital funding.
Co-founded in 2018 by former Navy SEALs Kyle Tompane and Garrett Moore, AGORUS’s software enables precision, off-site manufacturing of homes, apartments and granny flats in an automated assembly line. Construction teams then install the panels on the job site in days rather than months.
AGORUS operates a manufacturing facility in El Cajon and employs about 60 workers. For now, the company is focused on producing framed, weather wrapped and insulated panels — the shell of the home.
But eventually, the company expects to include things like plumbing, electrical and other features in its panels, which would be trucked to subdivisions and pieced together.
“The big picture thing we are trying to do here is increase the speed and ease in which houses can get into the American supply, and our view is the way to do that is to reduce the complexity to build,” said Moore, chief executive of AGORUS. “Our vision statement as a company is homes in 30 days — permits to keys — everywhere we build.”
Modular home construction isn’t new. Plenty of companies offer it across the country. But it hasn’t become a mainstream technique for large-scale home builders developing subdivisions.
That is the market AGORUS hopes to penetrate. Its software enables complex architectural designs to be constructed off-site, said Moore. The precision manufacturing reduces waste and cuts energy consumption in homes, he said.
Eventually, Moore thinks the technology could make inroads by reducing carrying costs for homebuilders who can get more homes on the market faster, as well as help homebuilders meet sustainability targets.
The company has worked on about 100 projects so far — ranging from ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) to single-family residences. Its technology is applicable to wood-frame multi-family construction as well up to about four stories.
The new funding brings the total raised by AGORUS to $10 million. The most recent investment was led by Blackhorn Ventures, followed by Toyota Ventures, Point72 Ventures, Signia Ventures, DivCoWest and Kennedy Wilson, among others.