🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: TechPrefab 
 ✍️ Notes From The Editors  
We hope your weekend went well. We're excited to publish our first contributor-written article! Hope you enjoy this issue on TechPrefab.
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 - Arek and Ethan 🦄
Smart building for everyone
To understand TechPrefab, one has to understand prefab. Prefab, short for prefabrication, is the process of fashioning a structure’s component parts into panelized or modular sections in the factory, before transporting them to the build site where the sections are connected and secured. Think of it like if IKEA built homes. TechPrefab utilizes a proprietary prefab collaboration platform that hosts, activates, and tracks the respective construction value chain activities. In other words, every step of the construction process, such as contracting, design, logistics, manufacturing, and assembly, is managed through TechPrefab’s platform.
🔗 Check them out: www.techprefab.com
💰 Business Model
TechPrefab operates both B2B and B2C depending on the contract, but the main source of projects comes from developers, i.e. B2B. Pricing starts at $200/square foot for a complete build and $70-100/square foot for design and materials only.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Has booked 8 projects for different property types (i.e. single-family, multi-family, commercial, etc.) at different project stages since February 2020
  • Contracted to build prefabricated lab classrooms for Syracuse University’s Engineering & Computer Science department
  • Fostered a healthy network of prefabrication factories in China to source the right materials depending on project needs
👫 Founder(s)
  • Robert Friedman, CEO: Currently Principal @ Tiberias Capital; Previously Principal @ Olympic Property Partners, Managing Director @ Bankers Capital Realty, Real Estate and Finance & Marketing MBA @ Yale, History and Economics BA @ Yeshiva University
  • Weili Xu, CTO: Currently CTO @ BuildSimHub; Previously Research Assistant @ Carnegie Mellon, Building Performance & Diagnostics PhD @ Carnegie Mellon, Technical Entrepreneurship and Management MS @ Rochester, Engineering BE @ Nottingham University
  • Zheng Zhang, Partner: Currently CEO @ BuildSimHub; Previously MBA Intern @ Autodesk, Product Engineer @ LG Electronics, MBA and MSIS @ Boston University, Mechanical and Product Design BA @ Northeastern University (China)
🔮 Our Analysis
Done well, prefabrication represents a step-improvement compared to the traditional site-build model due to its lower labor costs, shorter build times, and minimized waste. Further innovating on the prefab framework, TechPrefab has designed a business model and supporting collaboration platform that alleviates two major pain points of the prefab process: miscommunication among project constituents and high factory overhead costs. Their proprietary collaboration tool, BIMPort, provides all parties—architect, general contractor, manufacturers, etc.—visibility into project guidelines and progress. Project visibility limits last-minute contract revisions and keeps the project on schedule, plugging two significant cost leakages. The second bright point of TechPrefab’s business model is that rather than building a factory of their own, the startup relies on a well-vetted network of overseas factories to manufacture the structure’s component parts. This arrangement both considerably reduces TechPrefab’s overhead and allows them to pick and choose the right prefab solution for each build.
📚 Further Reading
Made with 💜 by the Unicorner Team 🦄
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🎁 Bonus Content!
If you want to learn more about prefab, you should read this Medium article about Plant Prefab, a company that specializes in building prefabricated houses.
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