essential

Now, that’s what you call a scintillating debut. Andy Rubin, the founder of Google’s widely popular Android operating system, just unveiled his new-age hardware company Essential’s products– a smartphone and intelligent home speaker –earlier last week. The devices haven’t even started shipping and the company has added a fresh $300 million to its coffers to enhance its presence in the highly competitive consumer electronics industry.

First reported by Bloomberg, who’s sourced the said data from Equidate, the hardware startup has picked up the aforementioned funds as part of its Series B fundraising round. The analytics firm, who keeps tracks of private company stock, has suggested that Essential nabbed the said funds at a valuation of around $900-$1 billion. The website cites a specific figure of $993 million, which comes to close to $1 billion.

There is no info on the investors who’ve participated in this funding round, but it is important to note that the said capital infusion happened before Essential’s official unveiling on stage at the Code Conference. The paperwork for the investments was filed in late May, a few days before the release of Essential PH-1 smartphone and the Amazon Echo competitor — Essential Home.

Prior to this fundraising round, Essential scored a decent $30 million capital infusion to kick-start its hardware ambitions. The said round had witnessed participation from Rubin’s own hardware accelerator — Playground Global, Redpoint Ventures, and Altimeter Capital. But, the most well-known heavyweights who’ve backed Rubin’s focused efforts are– China-based Tencent Holdings and the Foxconn Technology group.

Playground Global, for those unaware, is the hardware accelerator Rubin founded right after departing Google back in 2014. Based out of Palo Alto, Playground Global is focused on providing resources, mentorship, and funding for startups developing innovative hardware devices. It has a massive corpus of around $300 million dedicated to funding the research and development efforts of its incubates.

The creator of Android was leading the search giant’s mobile operating system efforts for around ten years, and finally decided that it was time to induce some change in the over-competitive but fledgling ecosystem. Thus, he opened a hardware accelerator and the same led to the beginning of his own consumer electronics startup, Essential.

The company has embarked on a rather difficult road and is now looking to build futuristic devices, such as the next-gen augmented reality (AR) smart glasses, whose patent surfaced on the interwebs just recently. It will also be releasing several modular add-ons for its Essential PH-1 smartphone and work on the upgradation of its custom new operating system called Ambient.

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