founder

Founder Profile: Housing Reinvented

Summary

At time of publication, 4/4/19 Vantem Global has raised $26,512 of a maximum $500K offering
In so many ways, many areas across the globe have done little to improve and innovate on the way homes are built today. Throughout large swaths of South America bricks and cement are still the predominant materials of choice when it comes to constructing a home.

 

Due to the labor intensive nature of this and a soaring housing deficit across the globe that is nearing $10 trillion, a new solution is desperately needed. This is where Vantam Global, an intriguing and innovative new materials technology that can both increase the speed of housing construction while reducing cost and improving energy efficiency.

 

This extremely exciting company is headed up by CEO, Chris Anderson, an experienced construction industry vet who knows the ins and outs of the industry he is building for and the market he is selling to.

 

With the bulk of R&D behind this team with a focus now on commercialization, Vantem Global is entering a period of exciting growth for the company.

Check out our discussion with Chris below to learn more.   
Chris Lustrino

Chris you have been in your industry for many years. Can you talk about your background and how that led you to Vantam?

Chris Anderson

I grew up in South America and went to the US for college. After graduate school, in 1991, I co-founded a wood product company manufacturing furniture and construction products in South America for the North American market. Over the next 15 years we grew the company into an enterprise with 2000 employees, operations in 5 countries, and markets across the globe.

 As we grew the company and extended our reach into new markets we noticed a common problem: most countries still rely almost exclusively on traditional brick and cement for construction, which is slow and expensive. Housing and social infrastructure needs are very often not met because these traditional construction methods exceed budgetary capacity and take an extraordinary amount of time to complete.

In that common problem we saw an opportunity to introduce an innovative construction system that would reduce cost and time, while being capable of meeting local building codes, and being culturally acceptable to the end user. We convened a product development team with that goal in mind and, after several years of study and experimentation, developed the core aspects of our innovative Vantem Construction System.

Chris Lustrino

For those that don't know what Vantem is, can you define it in one sentence?

Chris Anderson

Vantem manufactures and supplies a proprietary construction system that is based on an innovative Structural Insulated Panel that reduces costs and time while increasing thermal efficiency by up to 500% over traditional Construction methods.

Chris Lustrino

Can you talk about the technology you have developed. What about the material is enabling such efficient construction times and improving energy efficiency

Chris Anderson

Our panels are fully structural, therefore no additional steel or concrete reinforcement is needed, which reduces cost and time. Our panels are large and light, so two people can erect a 30 ft panel without heavy equipment, reducing labor cost and time.

 Our panels are made with an innovative proprietary Cementitious surface skin that is weather resistant, so they can be directly painted upon and do not require additional cladding or weatherproofing, further reducing material, labor cost, and time. Finally, the core of our panel is made from a highly efficient insulation material, EPS, that makes our walls up to 500% more thermally efficient than traditional concrete and brick.

Chris Lustrino

Who is the end customer that Vantam sells?

Chris Anderson

Vantem sells complete construction kits made with our panels usually to construction companies that use them to reduce costs and time and increase thermal efficiency in their projects.

The end customers for Vantem’s products are governments, private companies, and private individuals. Our system is used to build social homes, schools, and university campuses for governments, and it is used to build residences, commercial, and hospitality structures for the private sector.

Chris Lustrino

What are the challenges of selling into the public arena and public-private partnerships?

Chris Anderson

The biggest challenges for any innovative construction material are certification and code approval. We spent nearly 5 years and a significant investment having our system tested in internationally recognized laboratories, executing demonstration projects, and navigating code approval processes in our target markets prior to our commercial launch in 2017.

This testing and certification is a prerequisite for bidding on government projects and to participating in public-private partnerships. We are proud to be the lowest cost, most energy efficient system with government approvals in Uruguay and count on approvals and requisites to build in Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and the Caribbean as well.

Chris Lustrino

What target markets are you currently going after and which geographic regions will you pursue next? Why?

Chris Anderson

We are initially targeting countries where cement and brick are the predominant construction materials used and where we enjoy significant competitive advantages. Because South America fits the profile and because of my connections in the region, we focused our initial attention there.  

We began our commercial rollout in Uruguay in 2017 and plan to consolidate our position in that market this year. We plant to roll out in additional South American markets at a pace of one per year thereafter. Additionally, we are in negotiations with potential partners for North America and Africa, and have had significant interest in the Middle East as well as Asia.

Chris Lustrino

For those that don't know much about the housing market in the regions you are selling to, how large of a market opportunity is there for you to pursue?

Chris Anderson

The global housing deficit is estimated to be $10 trillion and the construction market toward this need could exceed $200 billion annually. Our Vantem System is very competitive in this market niche globally, as well as with other significant products like educational facilities that have a high need and demand but tight budgets and timetables.

 Our challenge is not market opportunity, but rather staying focused and managing our growth so that we meet market demands with the exacting quality and performance that we have become known for.

Chris Lustrino

Are there any close competitors to what Vantam does and if so how do you differentiate?

Chris Anderson

In the markets we currently target our true competition is traditional brick and cement, which accounts for over 95% of the construction industry in those countries. Alternative construction systems have had difficulty achieving code approvals, and the few that have achieved approvals face strong cultural barriers or are more expensive.

The strongest “alternative” system in our target markets perhaps is steel framing. Vantem enjoys a clear cost advantage and thermal efficiency advantage over that alternative.

Chris Lustrino

You have spent many years working on R&D and are now reaching the commercialization phase. What success have you had since beginning this new phase?

Chris Anderson

We launched commercially in Uruguay in 2017 and have won 75% of all bids we have participated in since then, including a bid to build 23 schools, a university campus, and hundreds of new homes. Our pipeline of confirmed and potential projects exceeds $25 million and have received important and valuable testing approvals and code approvals that open other key markets for our continued rollout.

Chris Lustrino

With the capital raised what kind of runway do you have and how will the capital be utilized?

Chris Anderson

The current funding round with Netcapial of $500,000 will provide operating capital for the orders we have and are booking as well capital for installing an automated production line for Uruguay, which was recently purchased. This round, together with expected bank financing, will cover operating capital needs for orders to be produced in 2019.

Having an opportunity to invest in an innovative materials company that has proven itself capable of going to market and whose major challenge is determining how to scale wisely is intriguing.

Chris is the type of Founder & CEO with the knowhow and capability to execute and build successful companies.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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