Home » Start-up raises $3m seed funding for urban design platform

Start-up raises $3m seed funding for urban design platform

by Mark Cantrell
A software developer based in Austin, Texas, has raised $3m (£2.4m) of seed funding from real estate investors to take its generative building design platform to the wider US market.

A software developer based in Austin, Texas, has raised $3m (£2.4m) of seed funding from real estate investors to take its generative building design platform to the wider US market.

Cedar’s platform uses generative algorithms and a mix of public and proprietary data to quickly generate a broad array of building designs.

Furthermore, the company claims the platform accurately predicts the development yield on any parcel in a city, and converts complex land-development regulations into real development scenarios that maximise a property’s financial potential.

The US housing market is short of 6.5m homes following a decade of under-building across the United States, relative to population and demand growth, Cedar says.

The company was founded in 2022 by Kyle Vansice, Nate Peters and Rahul Attraya to take on what they say are costly inefficiencies in the US housing development market.

According to the company, the complexities of urban development are driving builders to construct homes ever-farther from city centres, thereby contributing to the supply-demand mismatch creating a crisis of affordability.

That’s where its platform intends to come in: Cedar says it helps real-estate developers and professionals maximise the housing potential of urban infill properties.

Kyle Vansice, co-founder of Cedar, said: “Not only is the US not building enough housing to support our population growth, we’re not building homes in the right places – urban centres where current and future generations want to live and work, and be closer to their friends, family, and cultural amenities.”

Nate Peters, co-founder, added: “By connecting local zoning and land development regulations with a national standard for infill housing and urban density, Cedar is the first technology startup that is offering a fresh vision for housing development and design for the future.”

Cedar’s successful funding round was led by Caffeinated Capital, with participation from Tishman Speyer Ventures; Maria Davidson (chief executive of construction startup Kojo); David Rubenstein via Shorewind Capital; Alumni Ventures, among others. Global venture capital firm Antler was also an early investor, in the pre-seed round.

Varun Gupta, partner at Caffeinated Capital, said: “Characterising the economic value of any parcel of land through its current and future development opportunities will drive massive value to developers, brokers, states and municipalities, and other stakeholders. With it, Cedar could help usher in a new golden era of municipal development and help solve America’s housing shortage.”

Tyler Norwood, general partner US at Antler, Cedar’s initial investor, added: “We backed the Cedar team from day zero. As an early investor, we worked with Kyle, Rahul, and Nate as they experimented and fought to crack open a wedge into this market.

“The Cedar team is ambitious and tenacious, exactly the qualities required to scale a mammoth proptech opportunity. This 0-1 stage of a company is such a hard but exhilarating time – I feel honoured that a team this strong gave Antler the opportunity to be a partner on this journey and it is exciting to see Cedar quickly gaining traction.”

Cedar has coverage across Austin now, but has ambitious plans to expand to a number of major American cities over the next 12-18 months.

According to the company, the “immediate opportunity” for builders and developers lies in places that were previously built for largely single-family development, but which have the potential for increased density to create “more liveable and walkable neighbourhoods”.

The future of urban development needs to move beyond the binary of either single-family homes or luxury high-rise to include the so-called “missing middle” scale, it adds.

Rahul Attraya, co-founder of Cedar, said: “The smaller, non-institutional ‘missing middle’ scale projects are critical to creating a more economically and environmentally sustainable density in our cities.

“They present the key to providing the breadth of affordable options cities need. But getting innovative housing built in urban areas is not easy, and builders, developers, and the design community take big risks to make them happen – Cedar is supporting this effort by providing sophisticated planning and analysis technology that reduces risk and maximises their potential.”

Main image: (Left to right) Cedar co-founders Rahul Attraya, Kyle Vansice, and Nate Peters

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