Labor shortages, demands for safety and productivity, and concerns about environmental and economic sustainability have led the construction industry to evaluate and adopt automation. ICON Technology Inc. today said it has completed a $207 million Series B financing round. The Austin, Texas-based company said it has developed proprietary 3D-printing robotics, software, and advanced building materials to “shift the paradigm of homebuilding on Earth and beyond.”
“Since our unveiling in 2018, ICON's primary work has been maturing the technology from prototype to reliable, ready-for-the-world products and services,” stated Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON. “This has required dozens of fundamental engineering, scientific and architectural breakthroughs, and we're very proud of where we are today.”
“We want to turn up the velocity in a major way and are ready to scale,” he added. “With the support of the very best of venture capital, strategic capital and industry partners, this round of funding will help us do just that: faster R&D, manufacturing, and expansion to the people and places that need this technology.”
Vulcan updated for faster, bigger building
ICON said it has delivered more than two-dozen 3D-printed homes and structures across the U.S. and Mexico—more than any other construction tech company. Early this year, it offered the first 3D-printed homes for sale in the American housing market with developer 3Strands.
Most recently, the company unveiled its next-generation Vulcan construction system. The proprietary technology is intended to produce resilient, energy-efficient homes faster than conventional construction methods and with less waste and more design freedom.
Vulcan is designed and engineered from the ground up for volume 3D-printing of homes with precision and speed, said ICON. The updated system can 3D-print homes and structures up to 3,000 sq. ft. (92.9 sq. m), 1.5 times larger and two times faster than the previous ICON Vulcan 3D printers.
ICON debuted its new Exploration Series of homes “to cooperatively develop new design languages and architectural vernaculars with world-class architects.” The first home in the series, “House Zero,” was optimized and designed specifically for 3D printing. It features an elevated architectural and energy-efficient design that highlights the benefits of resiliency and sustainability only found in homebuilding through 3D printing, claimed ICON.
Additional projects are under way to deliver social housing, disaster-relief housing, and mainstream housing. ICON is also developing construction systems to create infrastructure and habitats on the moon and eventually Mars with NASA.
“We're treating this like the Apollo program for the future of the way we build and the future of the way we meet one of our most basic needs,” said Ballard. “We're going to accelerate the growth of an elite and diverse team of scientists, engineers, architects, operators, and leaders that is now over 100 and growing. We anticipate more rapid progress in the years ahead to help bring housing and construction into the modern world and in-line with humanity's highest hopes and values.”
ICON investment now totals $266M
In 2018, ICON raised $9 million in seed funding led by Oakhouse Partners, helping it to accelerate the development of its printers, create a variety of home types and designs, and enhance its core technology stack.
Seed round investors included Cielo Property Group, D.R. Horton, and Emaar, among others. In August 2020, Moderne Ventures led ICON's $35 million Series A round, which included CAZ Investments, Citi, Crosstimbers Ventures, Ironspring Ventures, Next Coast Ventures, Oakhouse Partners, Trust Ventures, Vulcan Capital, and Wavemaker Partners.
Norwest Venture Partners led ICON's $207 million Series B funding. From world-renowned architects to the country's largest homebuilders, ICON noted that its Series B investors also included 8VC, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, BOND, Citi, Crosstimbers, Ensemble, Fifth Wall, LENx, Moderne Ventures, and Oakhouse Partners. The latest investment brings ICON's total funding since launching its revolutionary technology to $266 million.
The global market for 3D printing in construction will grow from about $10 million in 2020 to $1 billion 2028 at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 91.5%, predicted Grand View Research. Last week, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Diamond Age raised $8 million in a seed round for its own 3D printing and robotics construction technology.
Crowe joins ICON board
ICON also announced that Jeff Crowe, managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, is joining its board of directors. Norwest is a venture and growth equity investment firm managing more than $9.5 billion in capital. The firm has offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif., as well as subsidiaries in India and Israel.
Norwest said it has invested in more than 600 companies and partners with over 150 active companies, with a focus on consumer, enterprise, and healthcare.
“ICON's groundbreaking technology has created a new paradigm for homebuilding that fundamentally changes how housing is constructed,” said Crowe. “The company is already building everything from single family homes for the homeless all the way to structures for habitation on the moon and Mars. But we are particularly excited about the opportunity for ICON to collaborate with home builders and massively impact the housing shortage currently plaguing the U.S.”
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