A group of graduate architecture students from the University of Idaho took home a $9,000 dollar prize from Boise Entrepreneur Week’s Hacking for Homebuilding Pitch Competition on Wednesday.
The Hacking for Homebuilding competition is a statewide competition offered in partnership with Boise State University’s Venture College, a program in the College of Innovation and Design, and the College of Engineering. Participants choose a problem facing the homebuilding industry and propose a solution in the form of a new business venture. The top three finalists in the competition presented their ideas at BEW and received a cash prize based on how they placed.
Mallory Bermensolo, Jim Severt and Tavia Dahl, presented their product, PrinTimber, a stackable brick composed of wood waste from sawmills and resin. According to PrinTimber, in 2022 the U.S. produced 44 tons of wood waste. The goal is to be able to use the bricks in home building as a low-energy, easy-to-use material, while also decreasing the amount of timber that goes to waste each year. The PrinTimber product is a joint venture between teams at U of I and Auburn University.
The other finalists were MM Sensing and Ayprox. MM Sensing was a venture presented by a team from Brigham Young University-Idaho which proposed to use magnetometry to help contractors and developers detect lava rock. Ayprox was a construction forecasting software presented by a Boise State University team.
According to Cara Van Sant, Director of Boise State’s Venture College, the prize money will be awarded to the participants based on completing milestones in furthering their venture. Van Sant said 50% of the prize money will be rewarded up front, and the rest of the money will be rewarded in 25% increments.
Van Sant said the purpose of the milestone funding is to encourage the teams to further their products and continue their work even if they need to make pivots.