Builders Lab

Catalyzing Innovation to Build Housing Better

The Builders Lab, a new program launching in 2024, works with emerging leaders in architecture, engineering, construction and hardware manufacturing to scale effective and sustainable methods of housing delivery across the U.S.

Highlights

A Clearinghouse for Innovation

We vet a diverse range of businesses and technologies in the housing delivery ecosystem, and we identify the most promising models that improve housing affordability, promote sustainability, and are well-positioned for market adoption.

A Hub for Cross-Sector Collaboration

Our deep relationships with UC Berkeley, the public sector, and industry strategic partners give our emerging innovators unique insights, collaboration opportunities, and visible exposure.

A Systems-Level Changemaker

Leveraging our collaboration with the Terner Center and an extensive network of industry partners, we support transformative solutions to the structural barriers impeding modernization and sustainability in the housing delivery ecosystem.

What We Offer

70+ available hours of expert coaching time per cohort member to help navigate the complex business, policy, and technical issues facing industrialized construction innovators.

A community of peers & an interdisciplinary network fortified through virtual and in-person community-building.

An international study trip to tour factories and meet leaders in more mature industrialized construction ecosystems.

  • Enhanced market access, advisory and fundraising opportunities via Builders Lab Strategic Partners

  • Terners’ systems-level convening power at both national & regional levels

Who Should Apply

This year's cohort could include:

  • Manufacturers, dealers and developers working with volumetric, panelized and “kit of parts” housing modules

  • SaaS companies whose solutions enable the demand aggregation and risk management needed to scale modular residential construction

  • Hardware manufacturers and dealers whose products enable affordable and repeatable home decarbonization

FAQ

What types of companies are you looking for?

The Builders Lab works with emerging leaders in architecture, engineering, construction and hardware to scale efficient, cost-effective and sustainable methods of housing delivery across the U.S. Our cohort will consist of companies deploying or enabling industrialized construction (IC), which refers broadly to the adoption of principles and processes from the manufacturing industry into the design and delivery of buildings. The cohort could include:

  • Manufacturers, dealers and developers working with volumetric, panelized and “kit of parts” housing modules

  • SaaS companies whose solutions enable the demand aggregation and risk management needed to scale modular residential construction

  • Hardware manufacturers and dealers whose products enable affordable and repeatable home decarbonization

While we anticipate that our first cohort will be largely composed of pre-Series B companies who have achieved at least some amount of revenue, we also welcome applications from later stage companies who are looking for support in scaling a new business or reaching a new market. Nonprofit organizations are also encouraged to apply.

What criteria do you use to evaluate startups?

The Builders Lab reviews all applicants through five lenses:

  • Viability of the applicant organization

  • Environmental sustainability of the applicant organization’s model

  • Impact on housing affordability

  • Support for housing equity

  • Applicability of the Builders Lab program to the needs of the applicant organization.

As our program is national and our theory of change for construction industrialization recognizes the need for regional ecosystems, we also look for regional diversity and coalition-building capacity. Our full list of selection criteria can be found below and is subject to change.

How will the Builders Lab navigate conflicts of interest between cohort members?

We ask the advisors who comprise our selection committee to disclose if they are an investor or otherwise have a financial interest in Builders Lab applicants. We also optimize for intra-cohort collaboration in our selection process, though we make no guarantees that cohort members have not, cannot or will not compete with each other. We expect that the diverse mix of organizations comprising the Builders Lab’s first cohort, advisor pool and strategic partnership network will inspire collaboration rather than competition.

What are the Builders Lab’s policies regarding confidential information and intellectual property?

Generally neither the Builders Lab nor Terner Labs will sign institutional confidentiality agreements. We ask that Builders Lab applicants not submit confidential information in the application process, and we also discourage our cohort members from providing confidential information to Builders Lab employees while in the program. Builders Lab cohort members, strategic partners, advisors and other community members who are not full-time employees of Terner Labs may choose to enter confidentiality agreements with each other as individuals or representatives of other institutions.

The Builders Lab does not claim ownership of any intellectual property developed by cohort members due to their lab participation. The Builders Lab may ask cohort members, strategic partners, advisors, and other community members for a right to use their respective names, logos, and trademarks as part of promotional materials in connection with the Lab.

How can I learn more about the application process and selection criteria?

We will host a series of webinars for potential applicants in xxx time frame. To stay up to date about these and other announcements, fill out the interest form below. Contact hello@ternerlabs.org with questions.

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