Frequently asked questions

Is the $100,000 - $150,000 really a grant? You’re not taking equity?

Yes, it’s really a grant. We will not take an equity share in the companies we work with.

This allows us to be flexible with the type of companies we can work with, including for-profit companies that may not fit the traditional venture capital model and creative initiatives using nonprofit status.

What can I use the money for?

The grant will be for general operating support for your venture and is designed to be as flexible as possible. If you are a mission-driven, for-profit company, there are some restrictions on what the money can be used towards. We will work with you to figure out the best way to use the capital.

My venture doesn’t really need the money. Should I still apply?

Of course. The funding we’re providing is only a part of our model. It is intended to make sure the ventures that do need money can cover their expenses and have more flexibility while in the program.

I’m not based in the U.S., can I apply?

Your venture must be operating within the U.S. to apply. If you are headquartered outside the U.S., but have operations within U.S, you are eligible.

What if my venture is an offshoot of a larger organization? Can I apply?

Yes!

What if I’m a non-profit, can I apply?

Yes. As noted, we are interested in ideas that can grow to reach a large number of customers. If this is true for the idea you are working on, please apply.

“Early-stage” seems very broad, what do you mean?

We are looking for organizations that have a reason to believe they can grow to serve a large number of customers. This means we want to see evidence of customer validation, ideally from a pilot. However, we are willing to consider your application if you are at an earlier stage, particularly if you are operating in a very asset-intensive part of the industry such as acquiring land in a high-cost region.

For more mature companies, our program will focus on providing support for revising your business model, structuring and raising additional capital, and thinking through how your company can address social and racial inequities in the housing industry. We welcome your application if this type of focus and support would be helpful for your company.

What if I work at a venture, but I’m not the founder? Can I attend the program?

You may fill out the application on behalf of your organization, but at least one member of the venture’s core leadership team must be willing to attend the summits in Berkeley, CA.

How will you handle my application data?

We will only share the details of your application in order to evaluate your venture. If we share your application with others involved in the application process, we will use reasonable efforts to ensure everyone treats your application confidentially.

We may use your information in your application to compile and publish aggregated findings regarding innovation in the housing industry, including sharing general trends on what questions innovators are pursuing, the investment vehicles supporting innovation, etc. We may also share out on general information included in your application, including any information generally known to the housing construction, finance, or management industry.

Will you sign an NDA?

No, we won't sign an NDA. As noted above, we will protect the general secrecy of the data in your application. However, the Housing Lab cohort model will be collaborative. We expect participants to be open about their company’s model, opportunities, and challenges with us and with other cohort members while in our program.