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Android creator Andy Rubin’s phone startup “Essential” raises $300 million


Andy Rubin, an engineer known for developing Google’s Android operating system, has raised $300 million for his new startup, Essential.

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.

The funding round  values Rubin’s firm at $993 million, according to analysis by research firm Equidate. That means it is practically a “unicorn,” which is the term given to tech startups when they achieve a billion dollar valuation.

Rubin ran the Android division at Google for nearly a decade. He left in 2014 and set up a tech incubator called Playground Global, which is where Essential spawned from.

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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.

Rubin was on the brink of raising $100 million from Japanese tech giant SoftBank but the funding fell through due to a conflict of interest with Apple, which has partnered with SoftBank on its $100 billion Vision Fund.
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