Amazon invests in modular housebuilder

Internet giant Amazon has entered the housing market after investing in a California-based modular housebuilder.

Start-up firm Plant Prefab builds prefabricated custom homes in a range of sizes.

Amazon has taken part in a $6.7m funding round for the business through its Alexa fund, which generally invests in start-ups based on voice technology, alongside another backer, Obvious Ventures.

Plant Prefab has a 62,000 sq ft factory in Rialto, California and builds homes that minimise their impact on energy, water and resources.

It works with various design partners to produce a range of different types of prefabricated houses, reports Construction Manager.

The smart home market is expected to grow into a $53bn (£40.25) industry by 2022, according to research from Zion Market Research.

News of Amazon’s investment in Plant Prefab comes just a few days after it launched a series of smart home devices powered by its voice-recognition technology Alexa.

They include a voice controlled microwave and a voice-controlled amplifier.

Speaking about the investment in Plant Prefab, Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund said in a statement: "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.

"We’re thrilled to support [Plant Prefab] as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers."

Image shows a Plant Prefab home

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