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Urbaneer's moveable wall system. Urbaneer's moveable wall system. Courtesy photo

With new investment, Urbaneer spins out on its own

BY Saturday, March 31, 2018 08:00am

GRAND RAPIDS –– Urbaneer LLC, a provider of home furnishings geared toward smaller living units, has spun out of Rockford Construction Co. Inc.

The Grand Rapids-based company, which was founded in 2012 and designs and installs movable walls, wall beds and storage predominately for multifamily family developments, says it has raised $500,000 in seed capital from a group of local and national investors, bringing its total capital raise to $900,000.

The products are predominantly designed for use in urban areas where smaller housing units are becoming more common amid tight housing markets and escalating rents.

“URBANEER is developing a range of innovative small space living products that address the housing needs of the 21st century,” founder and President Bruce Thompson said in a statement. “Our approach addresses not only housing economy, but the right housing for a changing population that is interested in smaller, more efficient spaces.”

The recent capital raise was led by Wakestream Ventures LLC, the Grand Rapids-based venture capital firm created by Amway scion Rick DeVos, and by Raul Fernandez, a Washington, D.C. businessman.

Federal securities filings show that Urbaneer raised a total of $400,000 last spring in two separate raises for a mix of debt and equity.

Thompson told MiBiz on Friday that Rockford Construction maintains a minority stake in the company. Urbaneer products have been used in a number of Rockford Construction developments, such as The Morton in downtown Grand Rapids and the 600 Douglas St. NW on the city’s west side.

“URBANEER was born out of need and we are pleased to have played a role in its concept, investment and development,” Mike VanGessel, CEO of Rockford Construction, said in a statement.

With the most recent capital raise from Wakestream Ventures and Fernandez, the company plans to expand operations to New York City and Washington, D.C., where Urbaneer products are slated for use in a variety of housing developments, Thompson said.

Additionally, Thompson told MiBiz that the company continues to work on a model where Urbaneer products could be licensed by builders for use in small-format, single-family homes.

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