Amazon has made its first investment in a housebuilder – the California-based start-up, Plant Prefab.
The company uses sustainable construction processes and materials to build prefabricated custom single- and multi-family houses.
Plant aims to use automation to build homes faster and bring down costs.
The investment is a new market for Amazon and the Alexa Fund, which typically backs start-ups focused on voice technology, CNBC said.
The investment comes less than a week after Amazon launched more than a dozen Alexa-powered smart home devices, including a microwave oven and an amplifier that can be controlled by the Alexa voice assistant.
Earlier this year, Amazon acquired the smart doorbell maker Ring and the company is also reportedly working on a secretive home robot.
“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,” said Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund. “We’re thrilled to support [Plant Prefab] as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.”
Amazon joined Obvious Ventures, the firm co-founded by Twitter’s Ev Williams, in Plant Prefab’s $6.7 million financing round.
Plant Prefab was spun out of LivingHomes, a design and development company that has built dozens of prefabricated homes, including the first LEED Platinum home in the US.
Plant’s website claims its homes are high-quality, sustainable, healthy and durable. It says in-factory construction can be faster, more cost-effective and more reliable than on-site construction.