Amazon makes first major investment in prefabricated housing

As Amazon announced their investment in a prefabricated housing start-up, factory-built homes may just become the next voice-controlled, super-efficient must-have in the future.

Cheaper and quicker to build than traditional housing, modular homes are viewed as a solution to housing shortage. 

To top it off, Amazon seems keen to ensure the homes of the future are fully-compatible with the latest Alexa capabilities, allowing it to launch more than a dozen new smart devices powered by Alexa.  

Plant Prefab, a prefabricated housing start-up, has captured £5.14million in its first-round funding from investors including Obvious Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund — a venture capital fund which supports companies using voice technology in their products.

“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 Alexa Fund director Paul Bernard. 

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

Based in California, and just two years old, Plant Prefab introduced itself as a “home factory” using a secret building system which “reduces construction time by 50 per cent and cost by 10-25 per cent in major cities.”

Built off-site and assembled in pieces with the support of a full-time workforce, Plant Prefab said their projects tend to be completed faster and at a lower cost than site-based projects which can be impacted by variables such as local labour shortages or sub-contractor premiums.

The company estimated factory costs to be around £100 (US$130) per square foot for a larger multi-home project from £153 (US$200) per square foot for their higher-end, steel-framed homes.

“In the housing-crunched major cities […] it takes too much time to build a home from groundbreaking to occupancy, and labour shortages, construction delays and increased construction costs are exacerbating this trend even further – and making homes increasingly less affordable,” said Plant Prefab Founder and CEO Steve Glenn.

More consumers are demanding homes that use less energy, water, and resources — and that minimise indoor air pollution, says Plant Prefab, while demand for building quickly, cost and time efficiently, and sustainably is growing.


Plant Prefab’s other major investor, Obvious Ventures, is a venture fund that focuses on #worldpositive projects. 

(Image credit: Plant Prefab)

Amazon makes first major investment in prefabricated housing