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Meet Alexis Rivas of Cover in Gardena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Rivas.

Alexis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We launched Cover in 2014 and completed our first unit in 2017. We are a Los Angeles based technology company that designs, manufactures and installs custom backyard homes. Our mission is to make thoughtfully designed and well-built homes for everyone. Using proprietary design software and a precision manufactured building system, we deliver exceptional design, functionality and energy performance, in a fraction of the time of traditional custom construction.

Both co-founders, Jemuel Joseph and I have backgrounds in both architecture and software. The Cover team is an interdisciplinary group of architects, software engineers, designers and manufacturing engineers. Cover was founded by Alexis Rivas and Jemuel Joseph who has a background in architecture and software. Cover is backed by top-tier Silicon Valley investors including General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures. Cover’s offices and factory are located in Gardena, Los Angeles.

Has it been a smooth road?
We’re trying to change the way construction is done, and this hasn’t changed in over 100 years. We are learning a lot along the way.

The spaces we live in have a profound impact on us and our environment, yet the way they are designed and built has remained largely unchanged in the last century. Nearly all homes are still built on-site using a stick-frame construction with hammers and nails. The design process is more fragmented than ever, with a traditional custom home design requiring the involvement of architects, engineers, consultants, suppliers, general contractors, and subcontractors. This results in an extraordinarily (and unnecessarily) expensive build process and makes progress and innovation difficult.

Cover’s homes are more responsive to their environment than designs today; we leverage sun path and geospatial data to computationally optimize wall and window placements for superior interior light conditions and optimal energy performance. Furthermore, because of our shortened design process, we’ll be able to offer people a more interactive and engaging design experience that will result in homes that more closely suit their unique way of living.

Cover is not just moving the traditional construction process into a factory. We have redesigned the details that make up a home to take advantage of the precision possible in a controlled environment. This allows us to build homes that are 80% more energy efficient than the average new home. It’s this combination of design optimization and precision manufacturing that allows us to make the experience of living in a Cover home better than even the most luxurious homes available today.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are known for our high quality and custom designed Cover units. We are known for paying attention to every detail. Cover designs, manufactures and installs custom backyard homes for everyone. We believe that the spaces we live in have a profound effect on us and that by improving these spaces, we can improve people’s lives.

This is different from traditional construction because we are streamlining the entire process from design, engineering, manufacturing and assembly process. The traditional process is really fragmented. If you want to build a home you have to hire an architect to do the research (thousands of dollars), once you know what you can build then there’s the design process (10s of thousands ), then permitting… then contractor… etc. Problems are the speed and the cost. If you take a look at the above video, Patsy mentions how it’s great to have one company do it all.

This month, we launched a new tool, the Cover backyard home planner tool. It allows homeowners in Los Angeles to get an instant assessment on whether they could build a second unit on their property, and other details such as how big it can be, wherein the backyard it can be built, and how much it will cost. The tool will be free for anyone to use and will work for addresses in LA. Right now, for a homeowner to find out if they can build a second unit in their backyard they need to spend unclear amounts of time and money. The Cover tool will change that. The tool gives an assessment of where you can build, what you can build and how much it would approximately cost. It makes the whole process much simpler for homeowners.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
There’s a huge need for additional housing in Los Angeles and there’s an abundance of underutilized backyards. In Los Angeles City alone, there are 500,000 single family home backyards. Our plan is to expand beyond LA, however.


  • A simple Cover backyard office starts at $45,000 and our largest spaces, which can be up to 1200 square feet are $450,000. Most Cover living spaces with a kitchen and bathroom are between $140,000 – 200,000.

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