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Symbium Wins $240K Facebook Grant to Bring ADUs to Bay Area

The money, which also comes from a foundation and city, will allow the company to deploy its software in three municipalities in San Mateo County, Calif. — where houses are among the most expensive in the nation.

Symbium accessory dwelling unit screenshot
Symbium, a gov tech startup, has won a $240,000 grant to bring software for planning accessory dwelling units to three cities in the housing-scarce San Francisco Bay Area.

The money comes from Facebook, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and the city of Menlo Park, Calif., and will be used to give access to Symbium Build and Build+ to the municipalities of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and North Fair Oaks, all in San Mateo County.

ADUs are one possible way to meet the demand for housing in the Bay Area — one of the most expensive real estate markets in the U.S., where the average house costs more than $1 million.

Symbium’s software seeks to make it easier for homeowners and others to find out whether an ADU is feasible, then plan one, estimate how much it will cost and even get in touch with contractors to make it happen. To do that, the company plugs into local regulations and gives users a library of floor plans they can put onto a map of their property. With the grant money, the company will offer its software to homeowners in those three municipalities and open access to Build+ to housing nonprofits and land trusts at no cost for five years.

The idea is to let people do much of the work themselves, bypassing city and county help desks and making it easier to find the right information.

“With this pivotal grant from Facebook and PVF, we will make a giant leap forward in empowering homeowners with ADU feasibility on their lots, while enabling city staff, nonprofits and land trusts to plan for, approve and deliver ADUs at scale,” said Leila Banijamali, the company’s CEO, in a press release. “We call this a success and couldn’t be prouder of serving all stakeholders with our web-based Complaw [computational law] tools in this important effort to promote and develop affordable housing by way of ADUs.”

Symbium previously raised a $4 million seed round in 2019.