Atmos, a new startup that makes it easier to build custom homes, has raised $4 million at a $25 million valuation, in a round led by Khosla Ventures. A graduate of Y Combinator, the company’s roster of investors also includes Sam Altman, Adam Nash, JLL Spark, and a group of TikTok influencers.
“The only way to improve housing affordability in the US is to build more houses, and the building of new, custom homes has long been a confusing, unreliable process,” says Evan Moore, a partner at Khosla Ventures who previously helped launch Opendoor. “Atmos enables significantly more people to build the homes they want.”
Atmos’ pitch is that it centralizes information for prospective homebuilders, who traditionally have to search separately for realtors, available lots, builders and architects. “In general it’s just a super scattered process,” says Nicholas Donahue, the company’s CEO and one of its four cofounders. “What we’re trying to do is pull all that together into a managed marketplace.”
Atmos held its soft launch roughly four months ago and is now working on its first dozen homes. The company is operational in two cities in North Carolina—where Donahue grew up—Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. Donahue hopes to expand to another city within nine months and to have 100 homes on the platform soon after. Atmos will use much of the new funding to improve its technology, including new visualization tools that will make it easier to see what a custom home will look like.
Donahue was raised by two homebuilding veterans. His father built subdivisions for D.R. Horton, and his mother worked for one of the country’s largest appliance firms. Originally, Donahue strayed from the family trade. He studied mechanical engineering at North Carolina State but dropped out after his freshman year and moved to Silicon Valley, where he worked on a few other startups before landing on the concept for Atmos in 2018.
Already, homebuilders are tackling unique projects on the company’s platform. The first houses include a shower for dogs, a private Buddhist Temple and an indoor basketball court.
Says Josh Richards, an 18-year-old social media star and one of the business’ new investors: “The future of custom housing is here and its Atmos.” Well, the TikToker hath spoken.