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Robotics startup Anki is closing up shop

This comes after a funding deal fell through.

Anki vector ai robot on table
Image: Anki

Anki, the robotics company that brought us such delights as Cozmo and Vector, is laying off its entire staff and closing up shop. The closure goes into effect on Wednesday, putting close to 200 employees out of employment.

That’s according to Recode, who found out about the sad staff meeting that took place yesterday to announce the closure. All staff is expected to get one week of severance pay, after the company failed to secure additional funding through a new round of financing.

The company’s AI race cars, Overdrive, were favorites at stores like Toys R Us. It seems that the pivot from being a toy company that uses AI, to a robotics company that is based on AI was just too much for the plucky startup.

Even a movie tie-in deal with the Fast and Furious franchise, and being introduced on stage at an Apple event, just wasn’t enough to save the company.

A company spokesperson gave a statement to Recode, which explained the closure as:

A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement. We’re doing our best to take care of every single employee and their families, and our management team continues to explore all options available

With over $200 million raised in VC funds total, and “almost $100 million” in revenue in 2017 and 2018, Anki wasn’t just some small outfit falling through the cracks. The consumer robotics sector is hard, even for those companies that find commercial success. Recently the maker of another robotic pal, Jibo, also had to shut down due to funding.

With Anki’s intellectual properties in limbo now, I hope that someone buys it to continue the legacy of small robotic pals.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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