Essential secures extra $300M to fuel smartphone push - Mobile World Live

Essential secures extra $300M to fuel smartphone push

08 JUN 2017

Former Android chief Andy Rubin’s start-up Essential raised a reported $300 million in additional financing, giving the company a total value of almost $1 billion.

Rubin (pictured), who took the wraps off the company and its first smartphone at the end of May, is looking to use the financing to break further into the consumer electronics segment, reported Bloomberg.

The financing round gives Essential, founded by Rubin after he left Alphabet’s Google in 2014, a value of between $900 million to $1 billion, according to analysis by Equidate, a company which examines the market for private company stock.

Paperwork submitted by Essential in late May revealing the new investments did not disclose which investors were backing the company, Bloomberg noted.

Rubin formed Essential from his tech incubator Playground Global, which now holds considerable control over the device company, according to Equidate.

Essential raised $30 million in 2016 from Playground Global and Redpoint Ventures, while other known investors include Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology.

However, Japan-based SoftBank scrapped a proposed $100 million investment in the company in March.

Reports at the time said SoftBank decided to walk away partly because of its existing relationship with Apple. Rubin last week suggested the reports were accurate during a technology conference in the US, Bloomberg reported.

At the launch of Essential’s first smartphone, Rubin hit out at the existing environment of closed smartphone ecosystems, and pledged to create a more open technology platform.

However, he faces stiff competition with Google, an emerging range of Asia Pacific-based smartphone manufacturers, and Apple’s iPhone.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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