A clean-tech company that is developing new techniques and materials for affordable and sustainable modular housing has closed its seed investment round after raising £450,000.
Manchester-based Vector Homes has secured the funding from SFC Capital, GC Angels, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and social housing investment firm HSPG.
Vector has also raised £375,000 in grant funding since its inception through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
The cash injection totalling more than £800,000 will support Vector’s development of novel sustainable and lightweight materials for modular construction.
Vector is undertaking research and development at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at the University of Manchester, and has now expanded its team and opened a manufacturing facility and workshop in Middleton, Greater Manchester.
Work is under way on a prototype demonstration modular family home.
The company is looking to mass manufacture sustainable and affordable smart, flat-pack housing focused on using enhanced recycled materials, light weighting of the structure, and creating buildings that can be dismantled rather than demolished, with the components finding a second or even third life elsewhere.
Vector is also developing embedded sensing to provide smart environmental controls throughout the home to help efficiently measure and control temperature, humidity, and air quality in each room.
Each Vector home will also feature “the latest energy-saving technologies”, according to the company.
Its materials are also designed to have applications in a variety of other sectors, including aerospace, automotive, and packaging.
Following the investment, Vector now has a nine-strong team led by chief executive Nathan Feddy and chief technology officer Liam Britnell, co-founders of the business.
The team includes chief operating officer Jonas Singer, senior scientist Vicente Orts, and architect Tiago Luxton.
Jason Druker, portfolio manager at SFC Capital, said: “We are thrilled to see the headway being made by Vector Homes in the field of sustainable construction materials.
“The team has ambitious plans for 2023, and we’re excited to see how this investment will support the commercialisation of their innovative technology.”
HSPG co-founder and chief operating officer David Searle said: “The team at Vector are forward-thinking, entrepreneurial and driven to create more sustainable housing solutions.
“We’re excited to be part of a company whose mission is very much aligned with our own.”
Nathan Feddy said: “We’re immensely proud of what we have achieved so far, and the faith shown in Vector with these latest investments is a real reflection of all the hard work that the team has put in over the last 18 months.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the support from all of our investors – SFC Capital, GC Angels, GMCA, and HSPG.
“The involvement of HSPG and GMCA is particularly significant, as it builds on Vector’s commercial traction and demonstrates the market pull for sustainable modular homes.”
He continued: “We’re building a business that is tackling two major challenges in housing – affordability and sustainability.
“Vector is a clean tech start-up with a vision to bring together materials engineering and innovative design principles to supply housing systems which address these issues.
“We’re using recycled materials to produce highly-standardised components to build houses in a way that is safe, reliable, and viable.
“By starting with a materials-centric approach, we believe we can play a key role in helping to drive the transition to net-zero in residential construction.
“Society needs better homes using lower embodied carbon materials to construct them.
“The materials predominantly used for building houses in the UK have a high embodied carbon level, such as the high energy processes required for the manufacture of bricks.
“Also, we import 60% of these heavy materials, adding significantly to transport emissions.
“Vector is addressing these challenges by upcycling low-cost waste materials and using nanocomposite engineering to give us strong, durable and fire-resistant building materials with a significant reduction in embodied carbon.”
‘Differentiated by our meaningful focus’
Chief technology officer Liam Britnell said: “Another key challenge for the sector is the UK’s chronic housing shortage – we need to be building twice as many homes as we do annually.
“This has all but locked out the younger generation from home ownership.
“Modular construction is acting as an enabler, offering easier entry into housebuilding for new developers and innovators such as Vector.
“The core of our innovation is our highly-standardised reprocessed composite panels consisting of a fire-safe, thermally-insulating foam core with rigid outer skins.
“We have developed a grid-based system, which is versatile and can be easily extended in any direction.
“We’re confident our homes will meet the Passivhaus Standard, meaning we’ll be expecting a 70-80% reduction in heating bills over a standard home.
“We’re differentiated by our meaningful focus on lowering the embodied carbon of housing and by our focus on hyper-standardisation of components to ease manufacturing.”
Image: (L-R) Nathan Feddy, mechanical technician Jeff Hirsch, Liam Britnell, mechanical technician Akiva Jacobs, and senior scientist Vicente Orts
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