If you've followed Android from the very beginning, the name of unsung hero Rich Miner is probably a familiar one. Along with Andy Rubin and Nick Sears, he helped to bring Android to life in its first incarnation. If not for the work of those three men catching Google's attention in a big way, the Android OS known today would likely not exist, or could at least exist in a drastically different form. In 2009, however, just as Android was really hitting its stride and Verizon's Droid lineup was poised to propel Android into the mainstream, Miner decided his calling was elsewhere. Specifically, it was at Google Ventures, managing some of the company's biggest investments.
It's this position that he'll be leaving behind to start up an education company from inside the tech giant. With Google's existing education portfolio and the fact that Chromebooks are proving specifically important to the educational sector, the project seems like a perfect fit. Thus, instead of becoming an Alphabet company, Miner's venture will be classed as an official Google project, with Sundar Pichai's blessing and all of the resources, benefits and pitfalls that such a status may entail for a project of such scale. Miner will be stepping into a new position as venture partner, where he will manage his new business and a few other ventures, while maintaining some of the board seats that he had control over in his previous job.
While the structure of the new deal is coming along quite nicely, Miner is still a bit less inspired on exactly what the team will be building. Miner said that in essence, the new startup is going to play it by ear on what to build. While that approach may sound like a sure way to drive away shareholders, Miner insists that this is the approach that has personally worked in the past, for big ideals like Android and even some smaller ideas, like the personal assistant Wildfire that Miner helped to develop 25 years back and is just now getting its day in the sun as a backend for an entirely new breed of digital assistants.