ICON lands $207M Series B to construct more 3D-printed homes after seeing 400% YoY revenue growth – TechCrunch

3D-printed robotics can be used to create single-family homes for homeless people. NASA collaborated in the development of construction systems for habitats and infrastructure on Mars and the moon. A barracks for the Texas Military Department was delivered, which is thought to be North America's largest 3D-printed structure.
These are just a few of the many things ICON, a construction tech startup based in Austin, Texas has been working on.

Today, the company added a huge $207 million Series A raise to its impressive list of achievements.

I've been following ICON since October 2018's seed round of $9 million, so it was a great feeling to see the company achieve this milestone three years later.

Norwest Venture Partners was the lead investor in the Series B round of startups, which also included participation by 8VC, BjarkeIngels Group (BIG), BOND and Citi Crosstimbers. Ensemble, Fifth Wall and LENx were also involved. Oakhouse Partners was also present. ICON's equity total has increased to $266 Million with this financing. The company refused to disclose its valuation.

ICON was established in late 2017, and the company launched its first 3D-printed home in the U.S. during SXSW 2018. The 350-square foot house took approximately 48 hours to print (at 25% speed). Concrete was chosen by ICON because it is one of the most durable materials on Earth, according to Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO.

The startup claims it has shipped more than 20 3D-printed structures and homes across the U.S. since then. Over half of these homes were for homeless people or those living in poverty. ICON, a nonprofit partner, delivered 3D-printed homes to Mexico in 2020. The nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes also helped to build a number of homes for the chronically homeless in Austin.

In early 2021, the startup entered the mainstream housing market with what it claimed were the first 3D printed homes in the U.S. to be sold by developer 3Strands of Austin, Texas. Two of the four homes have been sold. The two remaining homes will be available for sale on August 31.

ICON recently unveiled its next generation Vulcan construction system, and introduced its Exploration Series homes. House Zero, the first home in this series, was specifically optimized for 3D printing.

ICON's proprietary Vulcan technology, according to Ballard, produces energy-efficient, resilient homes with more freedom of design and less waste than traditional construction methods. Ballard claims that the company's Vulcan construction system can 3D print structures and homes up to 3,000 feet. It is 1.5x bigger and 2x faster then its Vulcan 3D printers.

Ballard maintained that ICON was founded because of the global housing crisis. He believes that 3D printing, robotics, and advanced materials are one way to address the problem of low-cost housing. This is a problem that is only growing in Austin and across the country.

ICONs future plans include disaster relief, social housing and mainstream housing. Ballard also stated that ICONs construction systems will be used to build infrastructure and habitats on Mars and the moon.

ICON has also two ongoing projects with NASA. NASA recently announced Mars Dune Alpha. ICON and BIG just announced it. ICON has printed the wall system, and ICON is now on the roof. NASA is also recruiting crewed missions for nextfFall, to live in the first 3D printed Martian habitat.

Project Olympus is ICON's attempt to create a space-based construction system to allow future exploration of the Moon, and for humanity to make their home on another planet.

Ballard stated that our goal is to have ICON technology on the Moon within the next ten years.

Ballard stated that the most important thing since the company's $35 million Series B last August was the dramatic increase in demand for 3D printed homes and structures.

TechCrunch's Ballard said that this single metric is significant to us. These houses must be desired by people.

He said that the world must increase supply, decrease costs, speed up, and increase resilience to address the housing shortage. This can be done without compromising beauty or quality.

He said that while there may be a few ways to accomplish some of these things, only 3D printing at construction scale is capable of doing all of them.

According to Ballard, ICON has experienced impressive financial growth. Its revenue has increased by 400% almost every year since its inception. It has also tripled the size of its staff in the past year, with more than 100 employees. It plans to double its size in the next year.

Ballard stated that the series B funds will be used to build more 3D-printed homes and accelerate scaling and R&D. They will also help create a lasting impact on housing problems.

Ballard stated that we have already established early-stage manufacturing. We are currently upgrading and accelerating these efforts to meet the demand for 3D-printed homes even as the round closes. We expect to deliver thousands of homes each year over the next five-years, and we are on our way towards tens of thousand homes every year.

Jeff Crowe, Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, joined ICONs board to finance the financing. He stated that his firm believes ICONs 3D-printed construction technology will greatly impact the U.S. housing shortage and other issues around the world.

Crowe stated that it is extremely difficult to combine advanced robotics, materials science, and software to create a strong 3D printing technology.

It's still difficult to develop technology that can produce thousands of beautiful, affordable and energy-efficient homes in different geographies. He wrote via email that he was unable to send a few demonstration units from a controlled environment. ICON has all of these elements and is poised to become a breakthrough, generational success.