Ivory Prize for Housing Innovation announces 2020 winners

Ivory Innovations is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Ivory Prize in Housing Innovation. The winners, in three categories, are entities making measurable and scalable strides in housing affordability. The winners are:


Rhino; New York, New York

Rhino partners with building owners and managers to offer low-cost insurance as an alternative to cash security deposits. Acting as an insurer for property damages to the owner, Rhino allows the lessee to avoid the high-cost security deposit, and offers low monthly payments instead. The average American has less than $400 in savings. Rhino’s product helps both the landlord and the renter. The landlord no longer has to hold deposits in an escrow account, and the renter avoids cutting into savings for a large upfront deposit. CEO Paraag Sarva developed Rhino after years of experience managing and developing real estate, noticing the “wasted” money that sits in escrow accounts across the nation.

Policy and Regulatory Reform

Symbium; San Francisco, California

Symbium is a computational law platform that mechanizes the rules and regulations of planning codes to help homeowners, design professionals, and planners quickly determine if an ADU is allowed on a property, what the development standards are, and processes needed to build these units. Complaw™, Symbium’s key business function, translates law regulations into computer code. Zoning regulations and lack of access to public records often hinder efficient development. Led by CEO Leila Banijamali, Symbium’s computational law will allow private and public builders alike to navigate the possibilities of each piece of property across a city’s jurisdiction.

Construction and Design

Enteka; Modesto, California

Entekra is a design, engineering, and construction company that designs Fully Integrated Offsite Solutions (FIOSS) for both residential and commercial facilities. Entekra is implementing a fully integrated off-site building technique that streamlines its panelized building process from permitting to assembly so that it can be completed in just a couple of days. FIOSS by Entekra uses a combination of software and construction to automate and lessen the costs associated with off-site construction. Led by Gerry McCaughey, a recipient of the Ernst and Young “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” award, Entekra is changing the way homes are built across America by providing low-cost innovative solutions to the affordability crisis.

Ivory Innovations also felt compelled to honor two government entities with the Public Sector Outstanding Achievement Award:

The State of Oregon

The State of Oregon expanded affordable housing options through the passage of HB 2001 in 2019. The law requires all Oregon cities with populations over 10,000 to allow duplexes on all residential lots on which a single-family home is allowed. Cities over 25,000 and Portland Metro jurisdictions must also allow triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, and cottage clusters in areas where single-family homes are allowed.

The City of Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis is “upzoning” nearly the entire city, which will allow more units to be built in areas that previously only contained single-family homes while promoting transit-oriented development and inclusionary zoning. The so-called Minneapolis 2040 Plan is unprecedented and transformative, providing a model for other cities to address affordability challenges associated with single-family-only zoning broadly.

Congratulations to all the winners! Learn more about each of them, and see the full Prize announcement, here.

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