Android Creator Rubin's Phone Startup Raises $300 Million to Chase Rivals


Essential, a startup run by the creator of Google’s Android, added $300 million to its war chest as it looks to break into the highly competitive field of consumer electronics.

The financing round valued Essential at $900 million to $1 billion, according to an analysis by Equidate, which runs a market for private company stock. Essential submitted paperwork on the new investments in late May, a few days before co-founder Andy Rubin unveiled the first two products: a high-end smartphone and an Amazon Echo-like gadget for the home. Investors in the deal weren’t disclosed. A spokesman for Essential declined to comment.

Essential emerged from Playground Global, a tech incubator Rubin formed after leaving Alphabet Inc.’s Google in 2014. Rubin, a pioneer in mobile tech, ran the Android unit at the search giant for nearly a decade. The new financing round created a separate class of shares with more voting rights, suggesting Playground Global has considerable control over Essential, according to Equidate’s analysis.

Essential, a startup run by the creator of Google’s Android, added $300 million to its war chest as it looks to break into the highly competitive field of consumer electronics.

The financing round valued Essential at $900 million to $1 billion, according to an analysis by Equidate, which runs a market for private company stock. Essential submitted paperwork on the new investments in late May, a few days before co-founder Andy Rubin unveiled the first two products: a high-end smartphone and an Amazon Echo-like gadget for the home. Investors in the deal weren’t disclosed. A spokesman for Essential declined to comment.

Essential emerged from Playground Global, a tech incubator Rubin formed after leaving Alphabet Inc.’s Google in 2014. Rubin, a pioneer in mobile tech, ran the Android unit at the search giant for nearly a decade. The new financing round created a separate class of shares with more voting rights, suggesting Playground Global has considerable control over Essential, according to Equidate’s analysis.

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