Prefab home startup gets $14M from investors, then moves headquarters to San Diego

Prefab home startup gets $14M from investors, then moves headquarters to San Diego

Construction tech startup plans to hire 40 at new Bird Rock HQ

A Northern California startup that designs and makes high-tech, prefabricated houses is moving its entire executive staff — and their families — to San Diego, where the company is setting up new headquarters with a fresh focus on software.
The startup, Dvele (pronounced deh-VELL), just closed on a $14 million round of cash from Texas investors Crescent Real Estate, the company announced Thursday. With the new funds, they’re moving from Santa Rosa to Bird Rock. Dvele plans to hire 40 people in San Diego over the next year to build up a software engineering team, along with a sales and marketing staff.
The company, founded in 2017, uses their back-end software to design and build luxury homes that are factory-built and then quickly assembled on site. Dvele’s homes are loaded with high-end technology meant to help homeowners take care of their property. The houses have things like sensors that detect moisture in the walls and particulate counts in the air.
Homeowners should be notified when their houses need care, just like cars remind drivers of necessary maintenance, said CEO and co-founder Kurt Goodjohn.

“An Audi will have a check engine light on if you need maintenance, but most homes don’t have anything like that,” Goodjohn said.
Prefab, modular construction companies like Dvele have been rising in popularity in recent years. Bay Area startup Katerra, a similar construction startup trying to upend the building industry, has raised $1.2 billion in venture funding since its 2015 launch. While Katerra focuses on apartments and other multifamily construction, Dvele is specializing in single family homes.

The company is building out its software department to allow buyers to design their homes online, much like the tool Tesla offers its customers to design their own vehicles.
Dvele’s homes are currently targeted to high-end buyers, Goodjohn said, usually running around $1 million for buyers. The company currently has three clients building homes in northern San Diego.
Dvele brought in $6 million in revenue in 2018, and expects to more than triple that figure to $20 million by the end of 2019.

What will they do in San Diego?

Goodjohn said the company considered several cities for its headquarters: San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles and Portland to name a few. But remembering his visits to San Diego earlier in his career, Goodjohn suggested the city to his team and everyone was “immediately on board.”
“Los Angeles has blown up and a lot of tech companies have gone south,” Goodjohn said. “San Diego is the next place, and it’s the best place.”
The company just signed a lease in Bird Rock right off La Jolla Boulevard in the old Maitre D building, about one block from the beach. The company also has a “production foundry” in Loma Linda. All locations combined, Dvele employs 100 people today and plans to “aggressively grow” that to around 240 total.