Posted September 2, 2020

One of the linchpins of the American dream is a path to home ownership—home ownership has been a path to financial progress for millions of individuals and holds an outsized cultural significance in our society as the foundation for many families. Unfortunately, that dream has become more challenging to achieve for the next generation of families. Asset price inflation, transactional inefficiencies, and the decreasing productivity of construction over time has put home ownership out of reach for many. 

Broadly, there are two ways to attack this problem: we can work to standardize the product or the process. Standardization of the product means living in cookie-cutter homes that are manufactured in factories (“disrupting” construction), while standardizing the process means using the efficiency and scalability of software to supercharge existing labor and construction methods (empowering construction). 

Until now, most companies have focused on the former, with a belief that efficiencies of scale and modern manufacturing methods represent a path to decreased construction cost. This approach has faced two challenges: 1) these manufacturing processes are ill-suited to home creation, delivering only minimal cost improvements, and 2) a city filled with identical homes isn’t a vision that many communities wish to embrace.

That’s why we were so excited when we met Salman Ahmad and Sep Kamvar from Mosaic  — two exceptional computer scientists who are uniquely suited to solve this problem. After earning a PhD in computer science at Stanford, Sep sold his first company, Kaltix, to Google before becoming Google’s head of personalization. He is also the co-founder of the crypto open platform Celo. Salman’s father was a self-taught contractor, providing Salman a firsthand view of the housing industry and craft. Salman went on to earn his master’s degree from Stanford and PhD from MIT in computer science.

Salman and Sep have a vision for the future of housing that combines the craft and attention to detail of traditional home building with the efficiencies in process and scalability of software. Indeed, one of the most incredible attributes of software is how craftsmanship can scale. A beautifully designed piece of software can be infinitely reproduced at zero marginal cost, and this thinking inspired Mosaic’s approach to modernizing home building and construction.

Mosaic delivers beautiful, personalized  homes at a lower cost and higher speed by partnering with local homebuilders. The company has developed a programming system that models how homes get constructed in the field. First, it upskills existing labor, enlisting non-specialists to assist with framing, foundation, and (eventually) electric and mechanical. Second, it reduces waste and human error by precisely measuring and pre-cutting lumber and other raw materials. 

We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the entire Mosaic team, its partners (such as Mandalay Homes in the Northern Arizona market), and Mosaic’s fellow investors.