Author: Michael Molitch-Hou
Date: August 25, 2021
Within the same month, ICON unveiled a 3D printed Martian habitat and the largest 3D printed structure in North America, a barracks for the Texas Military Department. Now, the additive construction startup has been infused with another $207 million to push the boundaries of its technology even further. With the new Series B raise, the company has garnered a combined $266.5 million in funding over the course of six rounds.
“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,” said 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. 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.”
Among U.S. additive construction firms, ICON has demonstrated some of the most success. It has 3D printed over 24 homes and structures in the U.S. and Mexico, more than other businesses in the space. In 2021, it put its first 3D printed houses on sale in the mainstream housing market via U.S. developer 3Strands.
ICON has also released its most recent Vulcan 3D printer, which can print up to 1.5 times larger and two times faster than its predecessors. The system can produce structures up to 3,000 square feet in area. Additionally, the company unveiled its Exploration Series of homes, including the energy efficient “House Zero”. In total, ICON has experienced 400 percent in revenue growth almost every year since it was founded in 2017.
Ballard added, “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. 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.”
The Series B was led by Norwest Venture Partners, whose managing partner, Jeff Crowe, will be joining the startup’s Board of Directors. Participating in the investment round were 8VC, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, BOND, Citi, Crosstimbers, Ensemble, Fifth Wall, LENx, Moderne Ventures and Oakhouse Partners.
“ICON’s groundbreaking technology has created a new paradigm for homebuilding that fundamentally changes how housing is constructed,” said Jeff Crowe, managing partner, Norwest Venture Partners. “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. We’re thrilled to add ICON to our portfolio of innovative prop tech leaders and look forward to partnering with the team in the years ahead.”
Obviously, the startup is experiencing significant momentum, but the massive investment demonstrates the excitement around additive construction as a whole. ICON faces competition from firms domestic and abroad. Flashy startups like Mighty Buildings in the U.S. are gaining a great deal of media attention, while construction giants such as Saint-Gobain and LafargeHolcim explore the technology, as well. We also can’t forget the PERI Group, COBOD, and China’s WinSun. Fortunately, not only does ICON have a new infusion of funds, but also the support of the U.S. government, which has partnered with the Austin startup through NASA and the Department of Defense.
As it continues to grow at its rapid pace, ICON promises more exciting projects, ranging from social housing and disaster relief to mainstream homes, as well as technology for 3D printing habitats on the moon and Mars.
The recent funding and scope of what this could do in the future are vast. I think it would be immensely valuable to be able to 3d print homes. As technology advances and it should be faster, be able to do more intricate designs, and use a vast collection of different materials. I am excited about the future and what it holds.