We’ve all done it. Whether you are a first-time car buyer or you’ve been around the block, we take the time to ‘build’ our own virtual vehicles, we take the time to choose all the bells and whistles and packages, but in the end it’s all you ever wanted. Imagine having the same liberty for your next home or multifamily purchase?
Prefabrication, or prefab development, is nothing new, but with companies crashing and burning at the attempt, the concept never really caught on.
Juno, a proptech startup based in San Francisco, is introducing ‘Productization.” They are looking to steer away from homes being developed and built as one-offs, but instead want to treat their homes as products that are worth repeating, or replicating, and collecting an inventory of homes from which people can choose (much like vehicles). From that point Juno will source the materials, build entire components, and ship those components to the building site where it will be assembled.
Nothing is being built from scratch, more so the completed product just needs to be put together. Juno claims that it can hasten the design process by 55% and the construction process by 25%. And all this is achieved through a standardized design software and adopting mass-timber construction, as well as using other renewable materials.
“Juno serves as architect and engineer to design a project, though it sometimes partners with firms that have experience with local governments. It has a supply chain team that sources building materials, and then it works with general contractors to train them on how to make the construction more efficient.
“We’re…treating housing development like product development, a process we call ‘productization. By creating buildings that are worthy of being repeated, tools and systems can be created to enable continuous improvement and increase efficiency. If buildings are considered or designed in a one-off context, then the learnings from one project to the next will fail to exist.”
Mass timber construction will make sense logistically as there are less pieces to transport due to the heavy usage of the large wooden panels and beams. Mass timber also allows for exposed wooden structures giving properties a different feel from your typical home or multifamily building. Each successive project keeps getting better, if there is room for improvement, because their design software also tracks data that will directly influence the next project. Eventually, Juno will have a vast inventory of homes or apartments that are proven to function in real world environments.
If you noticed an emphasize on the word ‘product,’ that’s because Juno was co-founded by BJ Siegel, who was a designer for the original Apple store, and members of the leadership also bring experience from Tesla. The idea to introduce the very first “OEM Ecosystem” for real estate development will largely resonate with people of the car community who are able to order parts or modifications for their vehicle that they know will work, and are specifically designed for their product.
Juno has raised over $20 million in a Series A funding round, along with other investments from companies such as Comcast Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and RET, bringing their total funds to about $32 million. Their mantra is simple, streamlining the development process, and lessening the carbon footprint that results from said development. So far, it has focused its initial projects in markets that are friendly to the idea of going all-electric.
“Today, construction refuse is literally 2x that of all municipal refuse combined in the U.S. The Juno system creates efficiency in the design, supply chain and construction of buildings that reduce waste and energy usage.” Features include low-carbon, all timber construction, more exposed wood (which Juno says is anti-microbial) and entirely gasless buildings, for example”
Currently, Juno owns its own development company but they also partner with local firms who are open to building using their platform. The picture above shows a rendering of the company’s first multifamily construction in Austin—a 24 unit building that is slated to deliver next year. In total, Juno also has projects in Seattle and Denver that totals roughly 400 units combined.