MARE ISLAND, Calif. and VALLEJO, Calif., April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A bright light in the midst of the pandemic, Factory_OS recently opened a second factory at Mare Island to ramp up affordable housing production due to surging demand. Shelter-in-place mandates drew attention to affordable housing as critical infrastructure, enabling the factory to remain in production throughout the lock-downs. Reinvestment in disadvantaged communities, stimulated by customers' affordable housing development projects and Factory_OS's creation of more than 500 union jobs, catapulted the company into the limelight for investors seeking to impact systemic barriers to equity. Led by social impact investor Lafayette Square and supported by major technology and finance partners, Factory_OS is proud to announce additional investors in its final $60M Series B round: JPMorgan Chase and Saint-Gobain. The capital will be deployed to accelerate the company's integration of digital and robotic technologies, launch R&D innovation initiatives with supply chain partners, and achieve vertical integration with general contracting and development services to meet the swelling demand for Factory_OS housing throughout the West Coast.
Environmental, Equity & Social Impact
Founded in 2017 to solve the affordable housing crisis, Factory_OS has produced over 1,000 apartments and proved the company's promise to reduce the cost and time of delivering affordable housing by up to 40%. The Series B impact investors praised Factory_OS for its multilayered social impact model including reduction of carbon emissions, sustainability, and living wage jobs, in addition to affordable housing. In partnership with the Northern California Carpenters' Union, 100% of the Factory_OS production workforce are union members benefitting from 50% greater wages, 25% fewer safety incidents, and 65% less commute time compared to the metro area construction industry.
Factory_OS's commitment to social impact and equity is not only good for its workers and the community as a whole, but it's good for business too as demonstrated by robust investor interest.
"We're excited to invest in Factory_OS's innovative vision as part of JPMorgan Chase's efforts to promote housing affordability and build an economy that works for more people," said Erin Robert, Head of Impact Finance at JPMorgan Chase. "Housing is the launching pad to resilient neighborhoods, well-paying jobs, and stronger financial futures for families. Factory_OS has the power to disrupt the traditional housing construction system so that more families have an affordable place to live. Additionally, its commitment to hiring previously incarcerated workers with competitive pay aligns with our Second Chance Agenda to help break down systemic barriers to opportunity."
Supply Chain Innovation
Through a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability, Factory_OS, in partnership with world class building materials companies, will embark on bold R&D initiatives to develop new building materials and processes that support industrialized construction.
"Innovation and sustainability are the heart of Saint-Gobain as we work to make the world a better home," said Minas Apelian, Vice President, External and Internal Venturing, Saint-Gobain. "By investing and partnering with Factory_OS, we are supporting innovation in offsite construction, while also driving environmental and social impact, with a team dedicated on building energy efficient, affordable homes for all." Saint-Gobain's investment was made via NOVA, its external venturing arm.
Larry Pace, Factory_OS Co-CEO/COO, underscores that significant production time improvements in the factory are possible when materials are designed specifically for 21st century industrialized construction. "Invented in 1916 and not changed substantially since, it's about time we bring the industry's best and brightest together to re-invent wallboard, in addition to other key building materials and processes, for our technologically advanced construction method at Factory_OS. We're very proud of our new partnership with Saint-Gobain, the world's largest and oldest building materials company." Factory_OS plans to launch a supply chain partnership initiative to attract other gold standard companies in the building materials sector that are interested in investing in the transformation of the construction industry from on-site to off-site. The investment of global building materials suppliers signals to the broader industry that their sector is in the process of major transformation and those not retooling for the future may be left behind.
"We're excited to see additional partners across finance, building materials and technology come together for continued support of Factory_OS, its innovative model to build affordable housing sustainably, and its mission to confront the national housing crisis within the communities where we live and work," added Damien Dwin, CEO and founder of Lafayette Square."
Factory_OS is a vertically integrated, whole systems-based approach to housing delivery, focused on solving the affordable housing crisis by reducing the cost and time of multifamily housing production by up to 40%. Through its housing innovation center and partnerships, Factory_OS is retooling all aspects of multifamily housing development, including policy and financing, with the goal of driving even greater efficiency while increasing environmental performance and enhancing livability. With a core belief that a home is the foundation of individual, family and community well-being, Factory_OS positions social equity at the core of its business model: In addition to building affordable housing, the company creates living-wage union jobs and actively recruits second-chance workers.