Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus who left the company two months ago, has raised $7 million from a roster of high-profile investors for his new hardware venture.
The Swedish tech entrepreneur said on Wednesday he had secured $7 million in a seed financing round from friends and private investors, including Tony Fadell (principal at Future Shape and inventor of the iPod), well-known YouTuber Casey Neistat, Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch), Steve Huffman (chief executive of Reddit), Liam Casey (founder and chief executive of PCH), Paddy Cosgrave (founder of Web Summit) Josh Buckley (chief executive of Product Hunt) and a group of former and current Stockholm-headquartered Truecaller employees: Kim Fai Kok, Nick Dahl and Zakaria Hersi.
Pei remains tight-lipped on what this new venture would be about, or what it is even called, but said he would talk more about it early next year. A source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the venture will focus on audio-related hardware — at least to begin with. Pei said he plans to use the fresh capital to set up an office in London, hire talent and fund product research and development.
“I am deeply grateful and tremendously excited to have friends of this caliber supporting us in building what’s next,” said Carl Pei in a statement. “We plan on moving aggressively against our vision, and can’t wait to see how the market will react.”
Pei, who served as the public face of the Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus for years, surprised many when he announced in October that he would be leaving the company. He played an instrumental role in designing the OnePlus smartphone lineup over the years, and also how the company marketed them and itself.
News outlet Android Central reported earlier that Pei, 31, had left the firm because of an “internal power struggle” between him and Pete Lau, the other co-founder of OnePlus. Lau, 45, took an additional role of SVP at Oppo. BBK Group owns OnePlus, Realme, Oppo and Vivo. OnePlus has always avoided questions about its ownership structure. Reached for comment in October, OnePlus has yet to respond.
“Carl spent the last decade making products that millions of people love. He deeply understands what consumers want, and I can’t wait for the world to see what he has in store next,” said Josh Buckley, chief executive of Product Hunt, in a statement.