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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Playground Global is rebuilding, months after the departure of controversial founder Andy Rubin and just days after the failure of its highest-profile investment, Rubin's mobile-phone startup Essential Products.

What's new: Laurie Yoler, a Silicon Valley veteran with both investing and operating chops, has joined Playground Global as its fifth general partner.

Yoler tells Axios she was recruited by several venture capital firms, but chose Playground Global because she felt it was going after some of the toughest challenges in autonomous tech and artificial intelligence. She adds that all of her conversations with Playground came after the departure of Rubin, the "father of Android" who was accused of sexual misconduct while still at Google.

"We didn't overlap and, honestly, Andy wasn't even a thought for me," Yoler says.

  • Yoler has been advising self-driving startup Zoox for several years and serving on its board. She also was a founding director of Tesla Motors.
  • Her other roles have included president of Qualcomm Labs, managing director of GrowthPoint Technology Partners, founder of Sun Microsystems' corporate venture capital unit, and product manager for what became the Visa Check Card.
  • She's maintaining pre-Playground board seats at consumer electronics company Bose and home goods company Church & Dwight (maker of Arm & Hammer products).

Yoler says that Playground has invested less than half of a $500 million second fund raised in 2016, and that she recently led a round for digital contracting startup Leaf Logistics.

Playground also recently hired:

  • Allison Braley, a marketing-focused operating partner who most recently was VP of marketing for Fair.
  • Michael Tolo, a venture principal who previously was an analyst for Australian investment firm Future Fund.

Editor's note: The story has been corrected with Playground Global's correct name and that it has five (not four) partners.

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A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

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The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.