Housing Lab helps startups that aim to make housing less expensive

Houses in the SF Bay Area

Housing in the Bay Area (Photo by Ananth Pai via Unsplash)

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.

Learn more about Housing Lab