What you need to know
- A new report reveals that Andy Rubin was paid $9 million to leave Playground Global back in May.
- Playground Global is a venture firm that Rubin founded In 2015.
- Rubin "no longer has any economic interest in or any ongoing roles at Playground Global or the related funds."
Earlier this week, Essential founder — and Android creator — Andy Rubin found himself in the spotlight for the first time since reports of sexual misconduct surfaced almost a year ago. Just a couple of days after Rubin teased the awkward-looking Essential GEM phone, a new report indicates that he was paid millions of dollars to leave his own venture firm.
According to BuzzFeed News, Andy Rubin was paid around $9 million to leave Playground Global back in May. Rubin founded Playground Global in 2015 and used it to fund the creation of the first Essential Phone.
Per internal documents from Playground Global that BuzzFeed acquired:
Effective May 31, 2019, Playground Global ended our business relationship with Andy Rubin. While Andy is still a good friend of Playground, he no longer has any economic interest in or any ongoing roles at Playground Global or the related funds.
While Rubin's departure from Playground occurred months ago and the exact reason for him being let go is unclear, having another instance of Rubin getting paid millions of dollars to quietly leave a company feels all too familiar to his position at Google.
Back in October 2018, a New York Times report revealed allegations against Andy Rubin during his time at Google. Rubin reportedly coerced a female employee into oral sex, and after Google discovered the employee's complaint to be credible, Rubin was asked to leave Google and met with a $90 million "exit package."
That's not to say that Rubin left Playground for similar reasons, and him being a founding member of Playground indicates that he likely had some input in the $9 million payout to leave. Even so, it all feels a little too familiar and a little bit dirty.
The document form Playground announcing his departure (unsurprisingly) makes no mention of any of the recent drama.
Andy, who has an unparalleled track record in the mobile industry, has been devoting all his energy to our portfolio company, Essential, since early 2019. Andy will continue as CEO of Essential. Essential's success will have a significant impact on Playground Ventures I and Playground Global.
On October 8, Andy Rubin took to Twitter following months of silence to share images and a short video of Essential's new "GEM" smartphone. It has a radically new form factor, with a design that looks more like a TV remote than anything else.
Rubin's departure from Playground doesn't appear to have any direct impact on the GEM phone, but it does add another talking point to mounting controversy surrounding the long-hailed father of Android.