Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin’s new company Playground Global, an incubator focused on hardware startups, has raised $48 million in equity financing. According to the filing, the company listed Rubin as a managing director. The investors include, Google, Hewlett-Packard Co., electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., and other tech companies.
As per a WSJ report, the company won’t invest in startups, but will take equity stakes in return for its support. The company also plans to help hardware startups with distribution, manufacturing, financing and access to cloud computing resources. Describing PlayGround as a ‘studio’ Rubin said that he wants to create an environment where inventors, tinkerers and entrepreneurs can focus on building new gadgets and not worry about other aspects of running a business.
“Our aim is to free the creators to create,” he said in an interview. “By bringing these partners to the table we can remove many of the roadblocks of bringing a great idea to market.”
Other investors in the PlayGround include Redpoint Ventures, a venture-capital firm with a history of working with Mr. Rubin, China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Seagate Technology PLC. Each investor brings to the table a specific strategic value for the company’s hardware startups.
Hon Hai, commonly known as Foxconn, will help Playground-backed startups to manufacture devices in high volumes. HP will help Playground startups distribute their products globally. Google, Tencent and Seagate will help startups work with the cloud, Rubin said. Redpoint will advise startups on financing and may invest in companies that emerge from Playground.
Rubin also has joined Redpoint as a venture partner where he will identify potential investments for the firm in mobile, and technology sectors.
The filing also listed Bruce Leak, a co-founder of WebTV, and Matt Hershenson, who co-started Danger Inc along with Rubin, as directors of Playground Global. WebTV, now called MSN TV, and Danger Inc. were acquired by Microsoft Corp.
Rubin, who was head of Google Inc.’s Robotics Division, stepped down the company in October 2014, after a nine-year stint during which he built Android as a free, open source platform with Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White in 2003. The platform is used by handset manufacturers including Samsung and HTC Corp. Google acquired it in 2005.