As the tech giant's first move into prefab construction, Amazon has invested in home-building start-up Plant PreFab. Known for smart home technology and sustainable construction, Plant PreFab is based in Rialto, California and is set to become the latest addition in Amazon's Alexa-integrated homes. As CNBC reports, Amazon's Alexa Fund invested in Plant PreFab for their prefabricated single and multifamily houses and their plan to use automation to build homes faster at lower costs.
Amazon is part of a larger investment in Plant PreFab with $6.7 million of Series A funding, which includes investments from Obvious Ventures and private investors. The move hopes to support Amazon's larger initiatives as it launched over a dozen Alexa-powered smart home devices this past month. "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," says Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund. Plant PreFab is currently based out of a 62,000-square-foot facility in Rialto and has partnered with architects and designers like Ray Kappe, Kieran Timberlake, and Yves Behar.
Plant Prefab believes factory-built homes can address new building systems and affordability through automation. They claim to be the first home factory in the nation focused on sustainable construction, materials, processes and operations. As Paul Bernard stated, "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 its approach reduces construction time by 50 percent and cost by 10-25 percent in major cities.
"We aspire to make the process of building a home far easier, faster, and less expensive in major cities," says Steve Glenn, Plant Prefab's CEO. "And part of this effort involves making sure our homes meet our clients lifestyle needs, and having greater and more effective smart home technology and integration is part of that. Amazon is certainly a leader in this domain and we hope and expect to learn much from them."
While Amazon already has a deal to pre-install Alexa with Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, the new addition of Plant PreFab could dramatically shape the future of Amazon's smart home integration.