Tory peer Lord Stanley Fink and firm Keystone Capital Investments take over control of Project Etopia to ‘allow the company to grow’  

Stanley Fink Project Etopia chairman

Lord Stanley Fink has become a person of ‘significant control’ at Etopia

Modular housing start-up Project Etopia is moving away from development to supply other housebuilders with its ‘net zero’ panelling. 

Chief executive and founder of the firm Joseph Daniels told Housing Today the developments already underway will continue until they are completed. But then the “focus [of the company] will be to enable the entire industry to go net zero”.

He spoke after documents filed at Companies House this week revealed that control of Etopia passed from him to the chair of the company, Lord Stanley Fink, a Tory peer and former Conservative Party treasurer, on 17 February.  

Daniels said he would remain as chief executive, and added that while he would like to have retained 100% equity in the company, it was more important for it to grow. 

“I would like to retain it but it would not let the company grow,” he said. “I still remain a significant shareholder but my shareholding dipped in line with the investors’ shareholdings.” Lord Fink became a person of ‘significant control’ of the company on 17 February; the same day Daniels ceased to be a ‘person of significant control’.  

On 4 April five members of the Fink family were named as shareholders, as was Keystone Capital Investments, which also became a ‘person with significant control’ of Etopia on 8 February. 

Under company law, “persons with significant control” commonly own at least 25% of the shareholding of a firm and have the right to appoint board directors.

Daniels told Housing Today: “The [Fink] family invested as a collective but their investment is as a whole but owned by each member.” 

He added: “The investors are passionate about the company and ensuring its growth so as a founding CEO it’s important I take the required steps to help the company grow”. 

He said that the investors were “driving the organisation to new heights” and that it was important for the company to have the “money and expertise to ensure as policy and regulations align with the net zero, the Etopia offering is in a position to expand accordingly”. 

Fink, who has also been a hedge fund manager, has invested in the start up since its early days. Daniels, who founded the firm in 2015, said Fink had been his mentor for six years. 

In July 2020 Etopia was named as the first ever carbon neutral house builder in the UN climate Neutral Now initiative. The shift in strategy will see Etopia use its technology to supply other developers and contractors, rather than develop homes itself.

The company calls its ”Powered by Etopia” panelling method a ‘4wall’ system. It is essentially an outer skin, which can be cement or magnesium board, with a foam injected at high pressure, with an airtight connection system. It replaces bricks and mortar walls of a home and Daniels says it can be used by any developer. The company claims the panelling achieves an air-tightness twice the standard of Passivhaus.