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Android Founder Raises $300 Million for His New Phone Startup

Android inventor Andy Rubin has raised $300 million in funding for his new hardware startup Essential Products. The new round was led by Access Technology Ventures, with Tencent, Foxconn and Amazon also participating in the funding, among others. Altogether, Essential has now raised $330 million.

Rubin unveiled Essential at the end of May, and at the time also announced the company’s first product, the Essential Phone. The premium Android phone is set to debut in the U.S. in the coming weeks, with Essential announcing Wednesday that retailers will include Best Buy and Amazon. The company has also struck an agreement with Sprint to sell the phone through the carrier.

Essential is also looking to eventually sell other connected products, including an Amazon Echo-like device with an integrated screen dubbed the Echo Home. The company has said that it wants the device to work with smart assistants from multiple companies, including Amazon’s Alexa.

Trademarks filed by Essential also hint at plans for home security and monitoring, and Variety was first to report in May that Essential had acquired intellectual property from Sentri, a startup that had been building an Android-powered home monitoring system.

Essential had previously sought an investment from Softbank, but those talks fell apart when Apple committed $1 billion to Softbank’s Vision Fund.

 

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