Investors fund Katerra with $865 million to reshape construction industry

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Sacramento Railyards project by Katerra with BAR Architects.(Katerra/BAR Architects)

SoftBank Group Corp. has led an $865 million investment in Menlo Park-based Katerra Inc., a modular factory building technology company that has visions to reshape the construction industry.

Katerra’s valuation is now more than $3 billion, Bloomberg quoted the company’s chairman and co-founder Michael Marks as saying. Marks said the company has about $1.3 billion in bookings for new construction projects.

In addition to SoftBank’sVision Fund, new investors include a fund overseen by Soros Fund Management, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Tavistock Group, and real-estate investment funds Navitas Capital and Divco West. Jeffrey Housenbold, a managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join Katerra’s board.

Marks founded Katerra with Jim Davidson, a founder of private-equity firm Silver Lake, and Fritz Wolff, executive chairman of a real-estate investment company, Bloomberg reports. Katerra’s goal is to help build construction projects faster and at lower costs by controlling all aspects of the process from design through construction. Materials are meant to arrive at building sites only when they’re needed and are ready to assemble.

Katerra has raised more than $1 billion of capital just in the last two years. Last year, the company started building a factory in Phoenix to make wall panels, cabinets and countertops for apartments. Katerra also said it’ll build a factory in Eastern Washington for making a type of environmentally friendly engineered timber that should be strong enough to replace concrete and steel, the report says.

Katerra plans to start about 30 projects this year, Marks said.

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