The SoftBank-backed offsite construction company Katerra to close down informing employees last week.
The failed offsite construction leviathan launched in Silicon Valley in 2015, and then acquired two architecture firms in 2018: Michael Green Architecture (MGA) in Vancouver, a leader in designing with mass timber, and the much larger Lord Aeck Sargent, with six offices in the U.S.
Last year, the company reportedly employed more than 8,000 people.
The start-up offsite construction company was founded by Michael Marks and Fritz Wolff and was listed on LinkedIn’s “Top Startup Companies” to work for in 2017. Based in Menlo Park, California, Katerra used software to manage its construction and fabricate and supply everything from wall systems to hardware. The company planned to lead in creating multi-unit residential buildings as well as commercial structures.
Isolating a profitable business model for Katerra to service real estate developers was already problematic, and it was pushed to the edge of bankruptcy in December 2020 but was given a short reprieve with a further US$200 million funding from SoftBank.
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