Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Icon Announces $35 Million Funding Round for House 3D Printing

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Icon Technology, Inc., headquartered in Austin, TX, has announced a $35 million series A funding round. Along with this comes some new promises too related to plans for 3D printing homes for sale in Texas next year—and development of new hardware that will be marketed to builders for 3D printing homes. The next-generation printer will be an updated version of what is now the Vulcan II, a second-generation machine that the Icon team claims already prints homes 2.5 times as fast as the original Vulcan 3D printer.

The funding round was led by Moderne Ventures, but also included:

Icon’s board of directors will now have two new members: Constance Freedman, founder and managing partner of Moderne Ventures, and Khan Tasinga, director of Palantir Technologies—the Peter Thiel-founded data analysis company known for its controversial government contracts. This latest round marks $44 million raised for the progressive construction company, founded in 2017 by now CEO Jason Ballard, along with co-founders Alex Le Roux and Evan Loomis. The company raised $9 million in 2018, in a seed funding round led by Oakhouse Partners.

Continued monetary infusion is a promising sign for Icon in an industry where 3D printing is being embraced by a handful of companies slowly becoming more well-known; however, because the construction industry is an area where consumers are hoping to find more affordable options that also continue to offer unique style and comfort, demand is growing for builders to stay true to their word in terms of plans for homes and even developments that they claim can be finished in record time.

In 2018, ICON was the first company in America to secure a building permit for and build a 3D printed home (Image: Icon)

Icon’s eventual goal has been to 3D print very small homes in 24-48 hours, costing as little as $10,000, boasting energy efficiency, and a versatile design program for buyers to personalize potential residences. The Icon team also plans to battle homelessness and housing shortages via 3D printing in developing countries, as well as working on designs for space habitats, an ongoing and fascinating topic as organizations like NASA continue to plan missions to the Moon and Mars.

Icon plans to leverage these concepts with advanced robotics and materials, offering zero-waste, cutting costs exponentially, while still presenting sustainability to future inhabitants of their 3D printed homes, as well as safety for workers and consumers.

The current plan for Texas is to 3D print homes for “the middle market,” using the Vulcan II for the bulk of the work; however, the next-generation printer currently in development will soon be for sale at their Austin headquarters for other builders to purchase. CEO Jason Ballard says the new printer will be bigger, better, and faster:

“We have saved most of our innovation gun powder for the next version of the technology rather than retrofitting the current existing technology stack.”

Austin’s Icon Technology last year constructed six buildings using its 3D printer at Community First, a community for the formerly homeless. After raising $35 million, the company is working toward a third generation of its Vulcan printer (Image: Icon)

Other construction companies to watch regarding 3D printed homes and other structures include COBOD—showing the potential for a profitable business model as demand for their BOD2 printer tripled from 2019 to 2020 despite COVID-19 constriction—as well as luxury hotel developers like Habitas, relying on contemporary 3D printed free-standing structures to draw tourists to Mexico, Namibia, and with plans for development in a handful of other countries.

[Source / Image: Austin Business Journal]

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