Amazon invests in Denver internet sprinkler startup Rachio

Provided by Rachio Rachio’s third-generation sprinkler system, the Rachio 3 and its accompanying app.

Asking Amazon’s Alexa to turn on the sprinklers helped Denver-based Rachio attract Amazon as an investor.

The Amazon Alexa Fund, which invests in select companies that build voice technology on Amazon’s home assistant Alexa, joined Rachio’s latest $10 million round, to be announced Tuesday. The Seattle conglomerate was also part of an earlier round, said Chris Klein, Rachio’s CEO and co-founder.

“Amazon has been a great partner to Rachio since initially investing in our Series A,” Klein said in an email. ” Beyond the benefit of getting early looks at Alexa technologies, the fund has been a tremendous help to our team internally at Amazon, navigating the ecosystem.”

The internet-of-things sprinkler maker plans to use the funds on sales and marketing of its hardware and mobile app. The new investment brings the company’s funding to date to about $20 million.

The Amazon Alexa Fund has invested in more than 30 companies since its 2015 inception, said Paul Bernard, Alexa Fund’s director.

“We’re excited to make a follow-on investment in Rachio as they continue their growth and innovation in sustainable solutions for the smart home,” Bernard said in an email. “Rachio’s Alexa skill makes it easy for customers to control their intelligent sprinklers simply using their voice, helping to improve water efficiency in the home.”

Among other investments, the Alexa Fund has also invested in Boulder robot toy maker Sphero.

Rachio’s also unveiled a new sprinkler system and wireless flow meter to help owners know if water is leaking long before the monthly water bill arrives. The company employs 55 people.

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