In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.
In today’s housing environment where affordability and inventory are scarce, anyone who gets into the tiny-home business stands to bring in some significant earnings — that is, if they can execute the job well.
Whether or not a tiny-house startup, based in Las Vegas, that has gained attention for its flashy marketing and affordable product can pull off what it hopes will ultimately be an enormous factory, producing 100,000 or more prefab tiny homes per year remains to be seen, Business Insider reported.
Investors have climbed on board with homebuilder Boxabl, with enthusiasm so far, as the company has made promises to revolutionize tiny-home production. It has plans to become the largest such factory in the U.S., producing homes that can cost as little as $60,000 and be folded like a suitcase for easy transportation to customers.
Galiano Tiramani, the company’s 35-year-old co-founder, alongside his 62-year-old father, Paolo Tiramani, has wooed customers and investors not only with promises of what his product can be, but also through outlandish marketing that includes dropping cars onto the company’s 375-square-foot Casita tiny-home model, or hosting drag races between Teslas and trucks hitched to the tiny homes. The company was officially founded in 2017.
The mulleted younger Tiramani’s social media tactics have gained Boxabl nearly 650,000 Instagram followers, $140 million in funding and a waiting list of 160,00 tiny-home orders.
“Galiano wants Boxabl to be in everyone’s head,” Jonathan Howard, a former contractor for Boxabl, told Business Insider. “And he has succeeded.”
Boxabl has even garnered the attention of Elon Musk, who told Business Insider in August that he lived in the company’s Casita at the base of his Texas-based rocket company, SpaceX.
Having attracted the public’s eye, it’s now time for Boxabl to deliver on its promises — and it’s unclear when that time may arrive.
The company has developed less than 400 homes during its first year of production, which means it still has a long way to go to scale production levels and meet its goals of producing hundreds of thousands of homes per year.
In January, the company tweeted that its second factory was now open. However, while the new 130,000-square-foot space had been completed, it was still empty on the inside and would take about six months as well as $15 million to install warehouse equipment and get the factory up and running.
In the meantime, Boxabl customers continue waiting for their homes to be constructed and some are getting impatient.
Thus far, Boxabl has received about 8,000 down payments from customers totaling $5.4 million, and a little over $1 million of that has been returned to customers who have requested a refund.
One Arizona-based customer named Max who spoke with Business Insider said information from Boxabl has been hard to come by since he put down a $2,400 down payment for two tiny homes in 2021. He still has not received details about the Casitas’ specifications, which has left him unable to prepare utility lines on the property where he plans to put them.
In addition, the banks he has been in touch with about financing said they wouldn’t finance Max’s purchase since Boxabl had not yet received approvals to install Casitas in the state of Arizona, which include a state license and factory certification.
“It’s pissing me off, to be honest,” Max told Business Insider. “I think this year is the maximum I will wait before asking for my money back.”
Meanwhile, Galiano Tiramani said the company had been working on getting approval from the state of Arizona for more than a year and expressed irritation at the bureaucracy involved.
“It’s totally insane,” he said. “A lot of stuff the government does with this overregulation is just hurting people.”
Another complication with Boxabl’s former third board member Hamid Firooznia also may leave investors wondering about the company’s stability or leadership’s ability to make sound business decisions.
Firooznia was named in a 2017 federal civil lawsuit as one of a number of individuals and corporations who conspired to hide the Iranian government’s ownership in a Manhattan office tower at 650 Fifth Ave. According to the lawsuit, Firooznia was an outside accountant for a nonprofit called the Alavi Foundation and had also worked with the Assa Corp., both of which co-owned the building.
However, it later surfaced that Assa Corp. was a front for an Iranian state bank, and the organizations attempted to hide this allegiance in order to circumvent U.S. sanctions.
Up until January 2023, Firooznia, who had been a long-time accountant and business advisor to Paolo Tiramani, was a member of Boxabl’s board. When Business Insider informed Pre IPO Club Fund Manager Edoardo Zarghetta, whose company invested $1.5 million in Boxabl, of Firooznia’s history, he expressed concern.
“That’s a bit curious, and I would hope to find out a good reason for that,” Zarghetta said.