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OnePlus founder scores $7m from iPod inventor and other investors for audio startup

'Nothing' yet to speak of in terms of products, though

OnePlus founder Carl Pei has raised $7m in seed funding for his new hardware startup based in London and focused on the audio sector.

Pei's biggest coup is signing up Tony Fadell as an investor. Fadell is best known as the inventor of the iPod, and led the 35-member team that created the inaugural product. He later served as senior vice president of the iPhone division before leaving to create Nest Labs, which was acquired by Google in 2014 for $3.2bn.

Also present in the seed round is Liam Casey, founder of the Irish product design and manufacturing business PCH International. PCH offers an end-to-end service for those hoping to bring a hardware product to market, covering early engineering work as well as manufacturing and logistics.

Other investors will likely prove helpful in the (shudder) "evangelisation" and marketing of any eventual products. These include prolific YouTuber Casey Neistat, who launched the Beme video-sharing app acquired by CNN in 2016 for $25m, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Product Hunt CEO Josh Buckley, and controversial Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave.

Pei left OnePlus in mid-October, and has remained tight-lipped about the name and direction of his new business, although a search of UK registrar of firms Companies House reveals some potential clues.

A search for "Carl Pei" shows a listing for a new limited company, founded at the end of October, called Nothing Technology Limited. This entity has a single director, Carl Pei, who holds Swedish nationality and a DOB of September, 1989. This matches known biographical information of the OnePlus founder, who was born in Beijing on 11 September 1989, raised in Sweden, and carries a Swedish passport.

We asked Pei if this was his new venture, and whether Nothing Technology was the actual name, or merely a temporary placeholder. At the time of publication, he has yet to reply. ®

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