Lawrence launched the startup in 2018 when he couldn’t find a supplier to build a modular apartment project he envisioned. Real estate has been a passion of his along with a desire to help address the affordable-housing deficit.

“It just makes sense, industrializing construction and building in a climate-controlled assembly line in a factory environment like we do with so many other products in our lives,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence, who has worked in investment banking and private equity, spent six months validating his idea and six more recruiting a “best-in-class” team and designing a production facility.

Several more months and “several million dollars” went into buying and retrofitting a 141,000-square-foot-factory in Owatonna, Minn., Lawrence said. Lean manufacturing assembly-line techniques reduce waste, improve efficiency and boost productivity, he said. Financing came from family and a family office.

Rise Modular delivered its first project in September in Mod42, a 30-unit apartment in south Minneapolis that also was the city’s first modular apartment complex.

The factory assembly-line approach offers potential savings of 10 to 20% on construction costs and speeds the time from groundbreaking to occupancy by 30 to 50%, Lawrence said, generating revenue sooner.

Read the entire article at the Star Tribune.