How to Solve Real Estate’s Greatest Challenges
Slice of MIT
Hasier Larrea SM ’15 believes the solution to real estate’s greatest challenges—affordability and sustainability—is furniture.
“People don’t need as much space as they think they need,” says Larrea, founder and CEO of robotic furniture company Ori. “The more square footage, the more you have to build, the more steel, the more concrete, the more you have to heat and cool, the more you have to pay for.”
Ori’s transformable furniture allows for more flexibility in a small space—by clicking a button, a living room can be transformed into an office, bedroom, dining room or walk-in closet. The concept was born out of the MIT Media Lab, where Larrea began the venture alongside cofounders Chad Bean ’14, Carlos Rubio ’14, MEng ’15, Ivan Casadevante, and Professor Kent Larson, who runs the MIT City Science research group. “After five or so years of research and prototypes at MIT, where we were building furniture with superpowers, there was a time when we realized that it was enough research. Enough writing theses and prototypes. We had to think of how to make an impact and how to scale these ideas.”
With the help of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the delta v accelerator program the company launched in summer 2015, and today—with more than 50 projects in 26 US cities—Ori works with real estate developers across the country. “We have hundreds of apartments with these technologies across the country, and there are more than 1,000 that are going to be installed in the next 12 to 18 months.”
Learn more in this MITAA video.