“Every day is a fire drill”: Construction startup Katerra struggles to stay on track as it scales up

Company facing problems with delays and quality control

New York /
Aug.August 27, 2018 09:00 AM

The Katerra factory in Phoenix and Katerra’s CEO Michael Marks (Credit: Katerra)

Construction startup Katerra — valued at $3 billion following an $865 million funding round in January including SoftBank — is struggling with delays and quality control as the company tries to scale up.

Many in the real estate industry are paying close attention to the three-year-old company, which aims to cut costs by streamlining the construction supply chain.

But the company’s faced challenges such as scaling up automation at its flagship factory in Arizona, which had to be shut down soon after it opened because it lacked proper building permits, the Information reported.

And Katerra has struggled to find a way to install plumbing and electrical systems inside wall panels at the factory, leaving more work for crews to do on the construction site, according to the Information.

One former Katerra manager said that, “Every day is a fire drill.”

The company’s also faced turnover in several key positions.

Company co-founder and executive chairman Michael Marks, a onetime CEO of Tesla, said the turnover was “at our request as we sort out who the long-term players are.”

He told the Information via email that the company has been making substantial progress.

“We’re doing great in all respects, growing revenue, increasing margins, breathtaking backlog, rapidly falling losses,” he wrote.

After a series of acquistions, the company has roughly 3,000 employees.

Katerra is expanding to India and the Middle East, and has looked to do construction for a planned SoftBank-backed tech city in Saudi Arabia, people close to the company told the Information.

But some developers have concerns about the company’s performance.

“Customers are frustrated that what they’re delivering isn’t good. Whole orders need to be canceled. [Katerra is] slowing down the process, as opposed to speeding it up,” a person in the real estate industry told the publication. [The Information] – Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Kirk Goodrich, president of Monadnock Development, is opposed to the bill sponsored by Bran Lander. (Getty, Monadnock Development)

Council bill favoring nonprofits for affordable housing will hurt minority-led firms: developers

Council bill favoring nonprofits for affordable housing will hurt minority-led firms: developers
TF Cornerstone President Frederick Elghanayan with 2-10 54th Avenue and 55-01 Second Street in Long Island City (Google Maps)

The 10 biggest new project filings in NYC

The 10 biggest new project filings in NYC
Neil Shekhter (Shekhter by Kevin Scanlon; iStock)

Santa Monica mega-portfolio officially hits market

Santa Monica mega-portfolio officially hits market
A rendering of 250 Water Street and Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David O'Reilly (SOM; Getty; iStock)

Howard Hughes’ Seaport project dealt major blow

Howard Hughes’ Seaport project dealt major blow
Ray McGuire photographed by Axel Dupeux.

The Closing: Ray McGuire

The Closing: Ray McGuire
SK Development's Scott Shnay and Ironstate's Michael Barry (Google Maps, Scott Shnay via LinkedIn)

Noho offices move forward where city wants housing

Noho offices move forward where city wants housing
From left: Lionheart's Ophir Sternberg, Fifth Wall's Brendan Wallace, Chamath Palihapitiya, Supernova Partners' Spencer Rascoff and Proptech Acquisition II's Tom Hennessy (Getty, LinkedIn, iStock)

These blank-check firms are courting proptech deals

These blank-check firms are courting proptech deals
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Brookfield’s Brian Kingston with the High Line and the Moynihan Train Hall (Getty)

New High Line section will connect to Moynihan Train Hall

New High Line section will connect to Moynihan Train Hall
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...