Homebuilding isn’t for the faint of coronary heart, notably those that wish to construct one thing customized. Choosing the best architect and designer, the myriad of contractors, the complexity of constructing codes and siting, the regulatory approvals from native authorities. It’s a full-time job — and also you don’t also have a roof constructed over your head.
Atmos desires to massively simplify homebuilding, and within the course of, democratize customization to increasingly owners.
The startup, which is within the present Y Combinator batch, desires to take each the massive selections and the sundries of development and mix them onto one platform the place deciding on a design and transferring ahead is so simple as clicking by means of a Shopify buying cart.
It’s a imaginative and prescient that has already piqued the eye of traders. The corporate disclosed that it has already raised $2 million in response to CEO and co-founder Nick Donahue from Sam Altman, former YC president and now head of OpenAI, and Adam Nash, former president and CEO of Wealthfront, together with a bunch of different angels.
It’s additionally a imaginative and prescient that could be a radical flip from the place Atmos was earlier than, which was centered in digital actuality.
Donahue comes from a line of homebuilders — his father constructed dwelling subdivisions as a career — however his pursuits initially turned towards the digital. He dropped out of school after realizing course of engineering wasn’t all that thrilling (who can blame him?) and headed out to the Valley, the place he constructed tasks like “a Burning Man artwork set up and [an] open-source VR headset.” That headset attracted the eye of angels, who funded its improvement.
The idea on the coronary heart of the headset was round what the staff dubbed the “spatial net.” Donahue defined that the concept was that “the idea of the net would someday movement from the 2D into the 3D and that bodily areas would operate extra like web sites.” The headset he was growing would act as a form of “browser” to navigate these areas.
In fact, the restrictions round VR hit his firm as a lot as the remainder of the trade, together with limits on computation efficiency to construct these 3D environments and the shortage of scaling within the sector to this point.
The considering round altering bodily areas although obtained Donahue pondering about what the way forward for the house would seem like. “We predict the subsequent form of wave of that is going to be an introduction to compute,” he mentioned, arguing that “each dwelling can have like a mind to it.” Properties will likely be digital, controllable, and customizable, and that can revolutionize the definition of the house that has remained stagnant for generations.
The massive imaginative and prescient for Atmos going ahead then is to seize that development, however for at this time not less than, the corporate is concentrated on making housing customization simpler.
To make use of the platform, a person inputs the placement for a brand new dwelling and a floorplan for the positioning, and Atmos will discover builders that finest match the plan and coordinate the remainder of the duties to get the house constructed. It’s concentrating on houses within the $400,000-800,000 vary, and its focus cities are Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Denver, and Austin.
It’s very a lot early levels for the corporate — Donahue says that the corporate has its first few tasks underway within the Raleigh-Durham space and is working to associate and scale up with bigger homebuilders.
Will it work? That’s the massive query with something that touches development. Customization is nice — everybody likes to have their very own pad — however the conventional problem for development is that the one approach to convey down the price of housing is to make it as uniform as doable. That’s why you get “cookie-cutter” subdivisions and rows of equivalent condominium buildings — the sameness permits a builder to search out scale: work crews can transfer from one lot to the subsequent in synchronicity saving labor prices and time whereas constructing supplies could be purchased in bulk to avoid wasting prices.
With higher expertise and a few controls, Atmos would possibly be capable to discover synergies between its prospects, notably if it will get market penetration in particular person cities. But, I discover the longer-term imaginative and prescient in the end extra compelling for the corporate: redefining the house might not have made a lot sense three months in the past, however as extra individuals do business from home and join with digital worlds, how ought to our houses be redesigned to accommodate these actions? If Atmos can discover a solution, it’s sitting on a gold mine.
Along with Altman and Nash, Mark Goldberg, JLL Spark, Shrug Capital, Daniel Gross’ Pioneer, Enterprise Hacks, Yuri Sagalov, Brian Norgard and others participated within the firm’s angel/seed spherical.