As the U.S. faces a looming housing crisis — with home prices growing faster than inflation — a new first-of-its-kind accelerator has sprung up to help startups working to reduce the cost of living.
Housing Lab, a collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the College of Environmental Design, works with entrepreneurs to navigate housing laws and regulations, improve their business plans and find investors — with the goal of making housing less expensive.
“We know the housing crisis is a complex problem that can’t be solved by innovation alone,” said Housing Lab program director Michelle Boyd, a Berkeley Haas alumna who began working on the accelerator as a student last year. “Because the housing industry is extremely regulated compared with other industries, these entrepreneurs need support.”
Startups that qualify for the program could range from a company developing a construction method using low-cost, environmentally friendly building materials to one that’s producing multi-unit co-living structures for urban areas.
Applicants are required to prove their ideas’ validity, show a recognition of longstanding problems in the housing industry and describe how their venture plans to operate responsibly, said Boyd.
Those accepted will join the six-month program in the fall and receive seed funding grants of $100,000 to $150,000. The early application deadline is June 26, and the final deadline is July 12.