Amazon’s Alexa Fund bets on prefab homebuilder
The new round of funding, says the company, will go toward investments in new senior hires, building the marketing and sales team, and developing the company’s patented Plant Building System. The new investment by the Alexa Fund is reportedly Amazon’s first investment in a home prefabrication/construction company, and comes only days after Google and homebuilder KB Homes announced a smart home partnership.
Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund, says, “Voice has emerged as a delightful technology in the home, and there are now more than 20,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from 3,500 different brands. 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 manufactures custom single and multi-family homes that are “high-quality, sustainable, healthy, and durable,” and says it is the first home factory in the nation focused on sustainable construction, materials, processes, and operations, and that its homes are built in ways that minimize the negative impact of development on energy, water, resources and indoor air quality. The company claims its approach reduces construction time by 50% and cost by 10-25% in major cities.
“In the housing-crunched major cities it takes too much time to build a home from groundbreaking to occupancy, and labor shortages, construction delays, and increased construction costs are exacerbating this trend even further – and making homes increasingly less affordable,” says Plant Prefab Founder and CEO Steve Glenn. “Building homes in factories addresses these challenges, particularly as we’re able integrate online technology, new building systems, and automation to dramatically reduce the time and cost necessary to design and build high-quality, custom homes.”
Amazon previously announced a partnership with homebuilder Lennar Corp. in May, in which the company’s model houses would be equipped with devices controlled by Alexa. Among those joining the Amazon Alexa Fund in Plant Prefab’s Series A funding round was Obvious Ventures, a venture capita fund focused on “world positive” companies that “deliver positive social and environmental benefits with every dollar of revenue they earn.”
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