Andy Rubin’s Playground seeking $500 million for new fund


Andy Rubin is looking for another big round of funding for his hardware incubator, Playground Ventures. According to an SEC filing that popped up yesterday (via Dan Primack), the Android founder is looking to raise up to $500M — Rubin’s name is listed alongside fellow Playground founders Peter Barrett, Matt Hershenson and Bruce Leak. This follows a $300M funding round that closed just about this time last year, with Rubin stating that the money would go toward investments in startups.

Rubin has been focused on Playground since exiting Google in 2014. The firm, in Rubin’s words, is focused on the tech “after smartphones and tablets,” which is in keeping with the largely mysterious tone he’s thus far taken with the project built to “amplify ideas.”

This summer, Rubin tipped his hand a bit, showing off two new incubator projects at a Bloomberg technology conference, described by the publication as, “a transponder for drones [and] a backpack-sized wearable speaker that vibrates the body in time with music.”

In August, meanwhile, Intel snapped up Nervana Systems, a Playground-funded deep-learning startup in a deal valued at around $408M.

Around the same time, the engineer turned entrepreneur also outlined a future focused on human-trained AI systems and robotics – the latter of which was his focus during his waning days at Google. He chalked that departure up, in part, to impatience with Google’s timeline.

With Playground, Rubin is clearly more interested in everything all at once, and looking to play an integral role in the next step in consumer technologies. And now, with the filing from yesterday, the company is looking to take the next major step toward funding it.

Read the source article at TechCrunch