Meet the 2023 Ivory Prize Top 25
An applied academic institution at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Ivory Innovations is dedicated to supporting innovative solutions in housing affordability. They recently announced the Top 25 Finalists for the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability (from 203 nominees).
Finalists are divided into three categories (Construction & Design, Finance, and Policy & Regulatory Reform) and have demonstrated innovative, achievable, and scalable solutions to the housing affordability crisis. The Top 10 will be announced in April, with the final winners to be announced in May.
Without further ado…
Construction and Design
BotBuilt: Uses robotic systems, patented hardware, and motion planning with computer vision to provide more sustainable options in construction.
Diamond Age: Builds 3D printing and advanced industrial-scale robotics that construct houses. Is currently automating new home construction of entry-level homes for the 9th largest homebuilder in the U.S., Century Communities (Realstar).
Inherent L3C: Their community housing production facility delivers all-electric, solar-ready smart homes. Works with public, private, and nonprofit organizations to prepare households for homeownership and provide support services for a household’s first five years.
Madelon: Streamlines and productizes the infill housing development process by integrating each component into its online REDtech platform. Including pre-designed housing compatible with industrialized housing manufacturers. This provides small local developers, non-profit institutions, and even community trusts with construction technology to recognize and build affordable housing at scale.
Plantd: Utilizes fast-growing perennial grass to make durable carbon-negative building materials. They are implementing a new agricultural supply chain and building manufacturing technology to lower costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Timber HP: Recycles waste wood chips leftover from the production of lumber, boards, and sheathing into loose fill, batt, and continuous board insulation. This makes their products cost-competitive and high-performing compared to typical insulations that are made from petroleum and require large energy inputs.
Tough Leaf: A B2B SAAS platform that helps certified Minority, Women, and Veteran owned businesses by connecting them with General Contractors & Developers.
Vantem: Reduces the cost of delivering affordable, energy-efficient, climate-resilient homes at scale by leveraging a structural panel technology to factory-craft modular structures.
Arx: An AI-driven real estate analytics platform that automates the underwriting process. This enables developers, investors, and agents to efficiently source and evaluate optimized investment and development opportunities.
Bilt Rewards: A rewards and payments program for helping renters build their credit and earn points back on rent with no fees for them or their landlord. Points can be used on rent and other expenses towards a downpayment on a home.
CoFi: A vertical construction finance platform that is piloting a new modular construction financing program with Manufactured, a centralized inventory manufacturing and finance solution.
Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth: Provides first-time Black and African American homebuyers with up to $40,000 in down-payment assistance. Currently generating an average of $100K in net worth for 500-600 Black families in Denver, CO. Launched by Gary Community Ventures, in partnership with Denver’s Black community
Frolic Community: Is building thousands of new, multi-family housing cooperatives with $10-$30k down payments on single family home lots.
RenoFi: A marketplace for home renovation financing that increases borrowing power for customers with their RenoFi-powered loans.
Roots Investment Community: A privately held Real Estate Investment portfolio allowing residents to “Own While You Rent”TM by investing their rental deposit into the Roots Fund. Residents are invested alongside accredited investors in a REIT and can also earn rental rebates through the “Live in it Like you Own” program.
Trust Neighborhoods: A nonprofit providing community-controlled real estate in areas threatened by gentrification. To do s they created the Mixed-Income Neighborhood Trust, or MINT, that owns and operates a portfolio of community controled rental housing that maintains permanent affordability. Currently, there are MINTs opering in Boston, Fresno, KC, and Tulsa.
Public Policy and Regulatory Reform
Black Homeownership Collaborative: A coalition of more than 100 organizations and housing advocates working to create 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030. To do so they have created seven steps to help black homeowners buy a home by connecting them with non-profit homeownership advisory services, downpayment assistance programs, a real estate agent, and mortgage lender.
California Dream for All Shared Appreciation Loan Program: Has created or preserved 73,000 affordable rental units and helped more than 213,000 low- and moderate-income Californians gain homeownership through various down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
Housing Connector: A nonprofit streamlining the housing search experience with automation, partnerships with housing providers, and an exclusive Zillow-powered marketplace to ensure no unit sits vacant.
Housing Navigator Massachusetts: Created a free, transparent housing search tool and works in partnership with the public sector, owners, renters, and human service providers throughout Utah to advocate for systems change.
National Zoning Atlas: An online resource created from the collaboration of researchers digitizing, demystifying, and democratizing ~30,000 U.S. zoning codes. The research shows how zoning lows impact housing availability/affordability, transportation systems, the environment, economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and the food supply.
Next Step: A nonprofit social enterprise that addresses the shortage of factory-builtenergy efficient affordable housing by connecting housing developers with manufacturers and providing homebuyers with guidance and responsible mortgage financing.
Outreach Grid: A data platform that provides homelessness information for agencies to collaborate and coordinate on. They have also created integrated tools for on site data collection by frontline workers. These tools also allow community leaders to visualize their system from first contact to housing. During the pandemic, they helped shelter operators become more efficient by providing them with shelter bed reservation tools.
PermitFlow: Provides an automation and workflow software that reduces the risk and cost associated with construction by simplifying the construction permitting process through.
The Kelsey: Co-develops affordable, accessible, inclusive housing and leads advocacy and field-building efforts to make inclusive housing a standard in the market. Is co-led by people with and without disabilities.
Congrats to all those selected!