Amazon Invests In Prefab Home-builder

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) has made its first investment in a home-builder, just days after the company unveiled a new line-up of smart-home and Echo devices.

Amazon Alexa Fund has invested in Plant Prefab, a California-based startup that builds prefabricated custom single – and multifamily houses. Plant Prefab was spun out of LivingHomes in 2016.

Plant Prefab said Tuesday it has raised a $6.7 million Series A funding round that included Obvious Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund.

The company plans to invest the new round of funding in new senior hires, building the marketing and sales team, and developing its patented Plant Building System.

Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund said, “Plant Prefab is a leader in home design and an emerging, innovative player in home manufacturing. We’re thrilled to support them as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.”

Plant Prefab says it is focused on sustainable construction, materials, processes and operations. According to the company, its homes are built off-site, thereby reducing construction time by 50 percent and cost by 10 to 25 percent in major cities.

The startup claims its homes are an ideal solution for rebuilding efforts in areas affected by natural disasters.

Alexa Fund, Amazon’s $200 million venture capital commitment, has typically invested in startups focused on voice technology. However, the investment in a home-builder represents a major change from previous investments.

Last Thursday, Amazon unveiled new Alexa-powered smart home devices, including AmazonBasics Microwave, a counter-top microwave oven, and Amazon Smart Plug, which can control compatible lights, fans and coffee makers.

Earlier this year, Amazon acquired the smart doorbell maker Ring in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. The deal plays to Amazon’s efforts to control the devices that power smart homes.

Amazon is reportedly working on building its first-ever home robot, code-named “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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