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Smart Home

Ecobee snags $61M in funding, including from Amazon

Led by Energy Impact Partners and including Amazon's Alexa Fund, the Series C funding round is Ecobee's largest to date, as it takes the fight to Google's Nest.

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Amazon's Alexa is pouring fresh capital into the thermostat maker's coffers.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The smart home brand Ecobee announced its largest-ever round of funding on Wednesday, with $61 million in new investments led by Energy Impact Partners. Other investors in the Series C funding round include Thomvest, Relay Ventures and Amazon's Alexa Fund.

Essentially, that makes the deal a reup from 2016, when the Alexa Fund joined some of those same names to invest $35 million in the Ecobee brand.

"We're excited to continue our support of Ecobee through participation in its Series C financing and our broader work together across a number of important Alexa capabilities," said Paul Bernard, Amazon's director of the Alexa Fund.

Ecobee cites recent market research from NPD that suggests the company may be gaining ground on Nest.

NPD/Ecobee

Launched just days after the Amazon Echo went publicly on sale, the Amazon Alexa Fund is a $100 million-dollar pool of capital from which the retail giant makes strategic investments in Alexa's third-party partners and developers. And, like with Amazon's recent acquisition of the Ring Video Doorbell, the strategy here seems to be largely about shoring up some competition for Google's growing family of Nest smart home gadgets.

Based out of Toronto, Ecobee is probably best known for going toe to toe with Nest for smart thermostat supremacy. The company claims that it's captured roughly a third of the smart thermostat market since its founding in 2007 -- four years before the Nest Learning Thermostat was even a thing.

In addition to serving as a foil for Nest, Ecobee has been an enthusiastic partner for Alexa. The company's thermostats were among the first to sync up with Alexa's voice-activated smart home controls, and its latest smart thermostat, the Ecobee4, even has Amazon's virtual voice assistant built in. The same is true for an upcoming Ecobee smart light switch, announced last year.

The new funding brings Ecobee's capital up to a total of $146 million, and the company says the plan now is to build upon its vision for the voice-controlled connected home.

"We believe that by building voice capabilities, advanced sensor technology and powerful AI into the operating system of your home, we are helping to create a new computing platform," said Stuart Lombard, Ecobee's president and CEO. "This technology will transform the way consumers interact with their favorite services for the better."