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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.

Go deeper

Heat dome roasts Northwest, Central states as "derecho" threat looms in Midwest

Weather map showing a sprawling heat dome centered over Kansas on July 30, 2021. (WeatherBell.com)

The latest in a series of relentless heat waves is bringing dangerously hot temperatures to a the Central U.S. on Wednesday, and will contribute to a severe thunderstorm outbreak across the Upper Midwest. The heat will expand in scope toward the end of the week.

The big picture: Heat watches, warnings and advisories are in effect across 19 states, from Portland, Oregon east to Minneapolis, and running all the way south to New Orleans. Temperatures of between 10°F and 15°F above average in these areas along with high humidity poses a public health threat.

Google offices to mandate vaccines

Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Google announced Wednesday it would require all in-office workers and visitors to be vaccinated and that employees could continue working from home through Oct. 18.

Why it matters: It's another sign that the Delta variant's spread is upending corporate plans for a quick and steady resumption of in-office work.

56 mins ago - World

Israeli and Palestinian officials are speaking again

Isaac Herzog (L), then the leader of the opposition, meets with Mahmoud Abbas in 2015. Photo: Abbas MomaniI/AFP via Getty

Relations between the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have shifted substantially in recent weeks, with Israeli officials going so far as to call it “a renaissance."

Why it matters: During Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister, relations deteriorated to the point where there was almost no contact other than security coordination.