OnePlus co-founder's Nothing startup buys Essential smartphone brand

Carl Pei's mysterious UK startup has reportedly acquired the failed phone brand from Andy Rubin

The Nothing logo on a mysterious device

Nothing, the mysterious startup created by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, has acquired Essential, the failed smartphone brand launched by Android creator Andy Rubin.

The acquisition was completed on 6 January 2021, according to filings from the UK Intellectual Property Office

The deal, which includes logos, trademarks and all other brandings from Essential, appears to have been made before any details of Pei's new project have been revealed. As such, it isn't clear what Nothing will do with the once-defunct smartphone brand.

Nothing is a London-based startup that is committed to bringing back "artistry, passion and trust" to the consumer technology space. Details about what form its products and services will take are currently sketchy, with Pei vaguely confirming that a 'smart device' will be launched 'soon' and that different kinds of devices will follow. 

The firm has already raised $15 million from a number of investors including iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, but these high profile names provide little insight into the future of Nothing. 

Related Resource

HCI 2.0 From HPE: How it can help your business thrive

Why SMBs need to accelerate digital transformation with HCI

How HCI can help your business thrive - HCI 2.0 - the benefits of HCI - whitepaper from HPEDownload now

The Nothing website initially sported a countdown to 16 February, but all that was revealed was a vague video about scaling technology back so that it was no longer in the way of life. Whether that indicates a small and unobtrusive device isn't very clear, but Pei feels that is enough to entice more investors. 

"We want you to create that future together with us," the company's website states. "Not just cheering from the sidelines, but front and centre from the very start. That's why we're inviting you to invest through this community funding round and become a shareholder of Nothing at the same price as our first institutional round of financing, Series A, led by GV (formally known as Google Ventures). $1.5 million worth of shares will be available to you on a first-come, first-serve basis." 

It's unlikely the company's acquisition of Essential will lead to huge investor interest, however. The company was founded after Rubin had left Google and it only produced one handset - the Essential Phone - which ran on a new operating system called 'Ambient OS' and failed make a dent on the market.

The firm was shut down in 2018 after poor sales. Around the same time, reports began to surface about Rubin leaving Google due to sexual harassment claims.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Security best practices for PostgreSQL

Securing data with PostgreSQL

Download now

Transform your MSP business into a money-making machine

Benefits and challenges of a recurring revenue model

Download now

The care and feeding of cloud

How to support cloud infrastructure post-migration

Watch now

Recommended

So you want to work for a tech startup? It’s not all ping-pong tables and yoga
startups

So you want to work for a tech startup? It’s not all ping-pong tables and yoga

22 Dec 2020
The IT Pro Podcast: Is the sun setting on Silicon Valley?
Business strategy

The IT Pro Podcast: Is the sun setting on Silicon Valley?

18 Dec 2020
UK tech startups to watch in 2021
startups

UK tech startups to watch in 2021

15 Dec 2020
TechUK urges government to level digital divide
digital divide

TechUK urges government to level digital divide

7 Dec 2020

Most Popular

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages
data centres

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages

7 Apr 2021
Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace
hacking

Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace

8 Apr 2021
Alienware’s new gaming laptop is a kick in the teeth for Intel’s new CEO
Hardware

Alienware’s new gaming laptop is a kick in the teeth for Intel’s new CEO

8 Apr 2021