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In pods we trust to solve housing crisis

August 11, 2022

ModnPods Founder and Bond University alumnus John Christie addresses the media at his Arundel factory. 

Bond University success story ModnPods has secured Queensland Government funding to increase the size of its factory, allowing the start-up to produce 200 modular homes a year.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said the cash injection would come from the $100 million Business Investment Fund and boost ModnPods’ workforce from 16 to more than 100 within three years.

The Arundel company builds prefabricated ‘pods’ that are used in holiday parks, as accommodation in remote locations and as social housing.

With a future build time of one month they could also help alleviate the housing crisis.

ModnPods founder John Christie is a Bond University MBA and Master of Finance graduate who honed his business through the Transformer, the university’s free entrepreneurship program for students.

Mr Christie said the State Government support would allow ModnPods to expand its current 1400sq m factory to 6200sq, cutting pod construction time from 12 to four weeks.

The pods cost from $66,000 to $200,000 depending on the size and fit-out.

The company started out building studios and granny flats but has evolved to supply the tourism and pastoral industries, and schools.

“We began with a 4m pod, then 6m and 8m. Now we have a 15m pod that has up to three bedrooms and can accommodate quite a large family,” Mr Christie said.

“They're extremely affordable and are made from close to 90 percent Australian materials, and 70 percent of those come right here in Queensland.”

The pods use a high proportion of recycled and recyclable materials.

The Treasurer said the success of ModnPods demonstrated the benefits of harnessing the innovation within Queensland’s world-class universities.

“(This investment) means ModnPods can diversify its customer base, accelerating its expansion beyond homes and commercial offices into eco-tourism, social housing, First Nations housing, specialist disability accommodation and school music pods,” Mr Dick said.

Mr Christie came up with the idea for ModnPods in 2015 to provide affordable housing. He enrolled at Bond in 2016 and graduated in 2020.

The Chairman of ModnPods is Stuart Giles, Bond University’s inaugural Founder in Residence and co-founder of Icon Cancer Group, Epic Pharmacy Group and the Epic Good Foundation.

“We have a housing affordability crisis, we have a challenge around the cost of goods and workforces, particularly in regional and remote areas,” Mr Giles said.

“How do you take that perfect storm and provide a solution?

"I hope I can stand here with the Treasurer in five years and talk about another Queensland success story on every level from solution-provision to job creation.”