After co-founding the OnePlus back in 2013, Carl Pei left the company in September to take some time off ahead of starting a new venture. That new project is already underway, and Pei has announced that he's been able to secure $7m in seed funding from friends and family ahead of a full unveiling early next year.
Among the early investors in Pei's new company are some powerful people in the tech world, such as iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. Pei expressed his gratitude for the support and said "we plan on moving aggressively against our vision, and can't wait to see how the market will react."
Let's build the future together. https://t.co/kAOta4Fwkk
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) December 9, 2020
The initial funding will be used to create a European head office in London and the hiring of a team there and in India. Pei took to Twitter to advertise available roles in areas such as PR, design, e-commerce, and HR, while all of the product-related openings seem to relate to software rather than hardware.
While Pei may be staying tight-lipped about his new company on social media, an interview with Wired reveals that it will be "audio-related" and that its first products will be arriving next year. Pei explains that he left OnePlus in September, a month before it was reported in the media, and insists that the split with CEO Pete Lau was perfectly amicable. On his reasons for leaving, Pei cites a desire to be creative in a way that's no longer necessarily possible at an established firm that has grown to the size of OnePlus. It's clear that he's seeking an exciting new project with the disruptive startup mentality his old one was famous for when it burst onto the scene.
While he deliberately stopped short of outlining the explicit nature of his product plans, Pei confirmed to Wired that we can expect multiple pieces of hardware to be released next year, While a set of headphones or earbuds may be on the cards, the remit is apparently wider than that. We can speculate that a new music service could launch alongside whatever hardware is coming, but for now, we'll simply have to wait for more concrete details about the as yet unnamed brand to emerge.