SoftBank Scraps $100M Investment in Andy Rubin’s Startup

March 20, 2017 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Andy Rubin, the founder of Android, has a new startup that he’s working on. After having left Google a couple of years ago, he ventured out into doing his own thing and is now heading up a new startup known as Essential Products Inc., which was getting a pretty heavy investment from SoftBank, the company that owns a majority stake in Sprint. Now, SoftBank has decided to scrap that deal, which shows just how unpredictable Masayoshi Son and his company can really be.

If this investment were to go through, it would have valued Essential Products Inc., at a $1 billion valuation. Many people were not happy with that huge valuation, considering the startup has yet to sell a single product, and they are already in one of the most competitive industries around. Making it tough to sell products, especially when the company is very unknown. Sure they have Andy Rubin at the helm, who did create Android, but most consumers don’t even know who he is, which means his name isn’t as valuable. Rubin appeared to be looking to follow the same footsteps he did with Android, with this new startup. Sell it to a larger company, and then help the company rival the iPhone, in the smartphone industry. But it looks like Rubin will need to go out and find a new suitor now, for Essential Products Inc.

The investment from SoftBank would have a been a big deal for Rubin’s startup, especially being an unknown company. Since Son had agreed to use SoftBank – one of the largest wireless carriers in Japan – to push their products, with a huge marketing blitz. But, it appears that the reasoning behind SoftBank pulling out is actually due to Apple. The Cupertino tech giant has already committed to putting in $1 billion into the SoftBank Vision Fund, which is being used to invest into startups, like Essential Products Inc. Now it’s not clear if Apple came to Son and told him to scrap this plan or not, but it is likely. SoftBank has made plenty of other acquisitions lately, apart from buying Sprint, they have also bought ARM and WeWork Companies Inc.