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A startup's solar-powered backyard tiny home can help power the main house — see inside its first 100 prefab ADUs starting at $279,000

person sitting outside an ADU at Cosmic's showroom in SF
San Francisco-based startup Cosmic is selling 100 prefab ADUs starting at $279,000 each in hopes of using the profit and a recent funding round to improve its manufacturing process and decrease the cost of its tiny homes.Cosmic
  • San Francisco startup Cosmic is selling its first 100 prefabricated ADUs starting at $279,000 for a studio.

  • The backyard tiny homes could generate enough energy to be a "power plant" for the main house.

  • The profits and a recent funding round would be used to improve its manufacturing process.

Entrepreneur Sasha Jokic dreams of ending global housing insecurity by manufacturing prefab multi-family residences for low-income families.

To do so, his San Francisco-based startup Cosmic is now selling its first 100 tiny homes starting at a cool $279,000 for a 385-square-foot studio.

Ironic, yes. But Jokic says it's the first step: The revenue from these 100 accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, sales would be reinvested into the startup's manufacturing process, setting it on the path of building faster and cheaper high-quality homes.

The ADU market is booming, with states like California and New York offering to pay homeowners to build ones on their properties.

Azure Printed Homes' 3D printed tiny home
Los Angeles-based Azure is using recycled plastic to 3D print its tiny homes.Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Amid this ADU gold rush, dozens of manufacturers have flooded the market, promising tiny homes that can be 3D printed, placed on wheels, or even craned into a buyer's backyard in 20 minutes.

Cosmic’s niche is more planet-friendly: Its founder says its backyard homes can generate enough energy to supply some to the primary house.

furnished studio ADU in a showroom
Cosmic says its ADUs and their appliances are energy-efficient. The startup is now showing its studio model at a showroom in San Francisco.Cosmic

ADUs require on-site utility hookups. But Cosmic says its units' battery and solar energy systems can generate more than it uses, cutting the homeowner's electricity bill.

The studio unit has a five-panel, 2.2-kilowatt photovoltaic system and a five-kilowatt-hour battery. Its founder told BI that both could be upgraded to become a "power plant" for the primary home.

Even the water systems have been optimized: The ADUs can be further upgraded with a recycling water filtration system, allowing water to be reused for non-drinking purposes like the toilet or washing machine.

Compared to other options, Cosmic’s ADUs aren’t cheap.

rendering of Cosmic's two-bedroom unit in a backyard
Tax incentives from the solar systems could drop the ADU's price while upgraded design options could increase it by $35,000, Cosmic's founder said. Pictured is a rendering of its two-bedroom unitCosmic

The startup's largest 750-square-foot two-bedroom model starts at $419,000, which includes appliances, permitting, and delivery.

To compare, Wheelhouse's high-end prefab tiny homes on wheels start at $175,000. Handier folks can also buy build-it-yourself tiny home kits for under $50,000 at retail giants like Home Depot, Amazon, and Costco.

Cosmic’s relatively high pricing was intentional: Its founder wants buyers to view its 100-unit release as a Kickstarter campaign.

composite of the interior of studio ADU
Jokic says the money from the first 100 units and recent funding would be invested into material procurement and fabrication processes.Cosmic

The profits from Cosmic's first 100 homes and its recent $1.5 million pre-seed funding round would be invested into automating its manufacturing process in hopes of dropping costs and delivery times.

The company has a six to eight-month lead time. The goal is to hit three months.

rendering of a bedroom and bathroom
Cosmic's modular approach eases the installation process — its ADUs' rooms, pictured in a rendering, can be built and delivered as separate units.Cosmic

The 100 tiny homes would be assembled by hand in San Francisco. Meanwhile, local contractors would spend about two to three weeks laying a foundation on the buyer's property.

When everything is complete, the ADU would be driven on a trailer to the client's home and craned into place.

The studio, one-bed, and two-bed units would all have plush comforts like white oak floors, dishwashers, and spa-like bathrooms.

rendering of a backyard one-bedroom ADU
Cosmic's founder says the startup has seven full-time employees and a network of players like general contractors and equipment manufacturers. Pictured is a rendering of its one-bedroom unit.Cosmic

As luxurious as this sounds, the startup's long-term goal is to manufacture self-sustaining homes for low-income folks.

Cosmic had to start with ADUs. "It's the largest product we could find on the market that can help us get off the ground," Jokic told BI.

Homeowners have increasingly turned to these tiny backyard homes for rental income.

backyard tiny home
Samara was cofounded by Airbnb's cofounder Joe Gebbia. Samara

Mike McNamara, the CEO of local competitor Samara, told Business Insider about 40% of its customers would likely use its ADUs as rentals.

Samara's prefab tiny homes aren't ultra-affordable either: A studio starts at $269,000.

Jokic is going after a different set of buyers.

rendering of a one-bedroom ADU
Cosmic's founder says one of the customers buying its two-bedroom ADU plans to use it as their primary residence so their children can move into the main home. Cosmic

He believes his customers wouldn't want — or likely need — an ADU for side income purposes. Instead, he envisions most of them using it as a personal office or guest home.

Jokic said more than 1,800 people in the US have “expressed interest” in purchasing one of his homes.

living room of a studio tiny home
The additional square footage that comes with an ADU can increase the value of a homeowner's property, as shown in a rendering.Cosmic

Deliveries would begin early in November or December, targeting 10 to 15 a month.

However, like other California-based ADU manufacturers, Cosmic only accepts buyers in its home state.

rendering of an ADU next to a lake and boat
Jokic predicts most of its customers would live in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, with about 20 to 30% of buyers looking to use its ADUs as an attachment to their vacation home "in nature," as shown in a rendering.Cosmic

The first 11 out of 100 backyard tiny homes have already been claimed, Cosmic's founder told BI, adding that most are, maybe unsurprisingly, tech CEOs and founders.

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