Amazon has made a “significant” investment in Luma, a company preparing to launch a “Surround WiFi” system for the home, as part of a $12.5 million Series A investment round led by the Accel venture capital firm.
The Seattle-based company’s investment was made through the $100 million Alexa Fund, which backs promising innovations in voice technology. Luma’s system promises more reliable and secure connections using multiple WiFi devices and built-in network intelligence. The Luma devices are currently available for preorder on Amazon for $149 for a single device and $299 for a three-pack.
Competitors include Google’s OnHub technology and San Francisco startup Eero. Atlanta-based Luma, founded by networking and security veterans Paul Judge and Mike Van Bruinisse, says it has sold more than 30,000 pre-orders, not including those from channel partners. It’s scheduled to start shipping in June.
“Innovation in the smart home space is taking off and has the potential to make our everyday lives easier and more serendipitous than ever,” said Steve Rabuchin, vice president for Amazon Alexa, in a news release. “We’re investing in Luma through the Alexa Fund because we’re excited about Luma’s vision to not only bring better and faster WiFi to consumers but to innovate on what’s possible with IoT and voice technologies.”
Alexa is the intelligent, voice-enabled assistant that powers the Amazon Echo smart speaker and other devices. Amazon has increasingly been positioning Alexa as an interface for the smart home, compatible with Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings and other devices. Luma is exploring possible Alexa integrations.
The company said the $12.5 million investment will be used to fulfill demand, expand global operations and continue research and development.
The round also included investment from existing investors Felicis Ventures, Base Ventures, BIP Capital, Relay Ventures, and Webb Investment Network, in addition to new investors such as David Dorman, former CEO of AT&T and 500 Startups. Existing investors include Omar Johnson, CMO of Beats By Dre; Aamir Virani, co-founder of Dropcam; and Jed York, CEO of the 49ers.