Android co-founder Andy Rubin launches a tech hardware incubator called Playground Global

by: Jimmy WestenbergApril 6, 2015

andy rubinCredit: Joi/Flickr

Back in 2013, Android co-founder Andy Rubin stepped down from the lead of Google’s Android group and handed all responsibilities over to the capable Sundar Pichai. Then in late 2013, Rubin confirmed that he was working with Google’s robotics arm on a project called “moonshot”. He ended up leaving Google in October 2014 to start an incubator for startups interested in building technology-based hardware products. Although his new job title may still seem a bit vague, Rubin is making some big headway in his new field.

According to an SEC filing uncovered by Fortune, Andy Rubin’s new venture called Playground Global has now raised $48 million to help fund hardware companies in need. Rubin is currently serving as managing director at Playground Global, and the company’s board of directors include ex-Googler Matt Hershenson, WebTV co-founder Bruce Leak and and former Microsoft exec Peter Barrett. According to the regulatory filling, the organization is categorized as a venture capital fund.

While there are no specific investors mentioned in the filing, The Wall Street Journal reports that the list of investors include Google, Hewlett-Packard Co., Redpoint Ventures and Foxconn, among others.

Each investor was chosen specifically for their value in creating new companies.

Playground Global reportedly won’t invest in startups, but it will offer up support for tech companies making devices for consumers or companies. The organization will also help out entrepreneurs with manufacturing and distribution costs and offer up ways to integrate devices with the cloud.

If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of an incubator, it’s basically a “studio” where investors and entrepreneurs can work on their projects without worrying about owning a business of their own. Have you ever seen HBO’s Silicon Valley? It’s like that, but on a much larger scale.

Rubin explains:

Our aim is to free the creators to create. By bringing these partners to the table we can remove many of the roadblocks of bringing a great idea to market.

Rubin says each investor was chosen specifically for their value in creating new companies. Maintaining a relationship with Google is a no-brainer, as it is one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Foxconn will help these new startups produce new products in large quantities and HP will help distribute all of the new products globally. Google, Tencent and Seagate will focus on cloud integration, and Redpoint will help aide new companies in financing.

Other than the investment details, we have no other information as to what Playground Global is up to. But if the success of Android is any indication as to how well his new venture will perform, we’d imagine Rubin will be quite the success when it comes to building relationships with new technology partners and getting advanced startups off the ground.

  • Marty

    It’s a shame Google lost Rubin. Android was on a near vertical climb with Rubin running Android. Android is okay now, but could have been so much better.

  • Francisco Franco

    I worked with Bruce and Peter, they are nice people. Peter’s an amazing engineer – hard to work with, but really good. Bruce is very knowledgeable and very easy going, and is definitely a great addition to this board. I haven’t talked with Andy Rubin or the other guy so I don’t really know, but the board seems strong and there’s a lot of money involved I’m sure.

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