Anki reportedly closes its doors: RIP to the world’s most adorable robot

Anki, a robotics company best known for its range of robotic toys, and the fact it raised $200m in venture capital to make those toys, is reportedly closing its doors.

Anki is best known for its robots the Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector, which were well regarded, the Cozmo even grabbing an award at the 2017 Trusted Reviews Awards.

Tech outfit Recode is reporting that all of the company’s staff is being laid off, and the startup is shutting its doors after an all-hands meeting on Monday morning where the CEO, Boris Sofman, told his staff that they would all be losing their jobs on Wednesday.

Anki has close to 200 employees, and all of them will be paid just a week of severance.

For those owning one of Anki’s cute robots, this will likely be bad news. It’s an adorable toy, and the continued support and addition of new robots is nice for anyone that fancies a gadget that’s a little different.

However it’s also sad news for consumer robotics. Anki said late last year that it had made some $100m (£76.8m) in 2017, and was expecting to make the same again in 2018. With investment from some big names, and a prominent place on Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote for their first product, the Anki Drive. 

Speaking to Recode, an Anki spokesperson said: “Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” a company spokesperson said. “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.”

Whether a late stage acquisition could save the company remains to be seen, but for now it’s looking grim for the purveyors of consumer AI and robotics.

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