Amazon has reportedly invested in Plant Prefab, a start-up that builds prefabricated homes. The investment was made through the company’s Alexa Fund. Plant Prefab develops prefabricated homes for both nuclear and joint families. The move is in line with the company’s efforts to enter the Internet of Things (IoT) smart home space. Although Amazon has already developed a number of smart home devices, the move is one of a kind, which takes a direct shot at traditional homebuilders.
According to a statement released on 25 August, Plant Prefab uses material that is sustainable for the building of prefabricated homes for singles or families. The smart house space is a relatively new market for Amazon and the Alexa Fund, and they want to make the best of it by investing at the right time. The smart home company has a plan in the pipeline for automation that will make the process of homemaking even faster and also bring down the cost of manufacturing.
Amazon and Alexa Fund back companies focused on voice technology. The investment was followed by Amazon’s announcement of multiple Alexa-powered smart home devices. The company is reportedly making eight smart home devices that will have a compatibility with Alexa the voice assistant. These new devices will strengthen the company in the context of new sales opportunities through investments such as this. Amazon wants its Alexa voice technology to be universal. Therefore, the company is focusing on various sectors where people spend most of their time, like at home or in a car. In early 2018, the company acquired the smart doorbell maker Ring. Amazon is also reportedly working on a Secretive Home Robot.
Experts predict a robust growth in the smart home market of $53 billion by 2022, reported Zion Market Research. Voice technology has emerged as the strongest segment of the smart home tech market. There are more than 20,000 smart home devices that are powered by Alexa from as many as 3500 brands. Alexa Fund is confident of its investment in the smart home devices especially the recent one of Plant Prefab. Paul Bernard director of the Alexa Fund stated that “Plant Prefab has the potential to indirectly support the growth of Amazon in the smart home space”.
Amazon and Obvious Ventures invested in Plant Prefab’s financial round at around $6.7 million. However, we are still not exactly sure as to how much Amazon invested in the financial round, and which other companies were present. Plant Prefab has also not declared how it plans to use the funds to accelerate its growth in the smart home space. The latest happenings hint at the bright future of Alexa, as Amazon is keeping it at the center of each deal or agreement it continues to make. It will be interesting to see what type of new Alexa-enabled smart home devices the market will see from Plant Prefab.