What just happened? Anki, the kid-focused robotics technology company that raced onto the scene at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013 with its Anki Drive racing game, is shutting down. It's an unfortunate end to a promising startup but an outcome that isn't entirely surprising considering the notoriously difficult consumer robotics industry.
CEO Boris Sofman broke the news to staff at an all-hands meeting on Monday morning according to Recode.
Anki has shipped millions of products to customers over the years. Its latest product, a cloud-connected autonomous robot called Vector, launched last September.
Despite the company’s success and having raised over $200 million in venture capital, money remained an issue. In a statement on the matter, the company said a significant financial deal with a strategic investor fell through at the last minute. In the absence of the deal, Anki simply cannot continue and will be laying off its entire staff on Wednesday.
Sources familiar with the matter told Recode that nearly 200 employees are being impacted and will receive one week of severance pay. Anki said in its statement that they are doing their best to take care of every single employee and their families, adding that their management team continues to explore all available options.
At one point, the company was reportedly entertaining acquisition interest from companies like Amazon, Comcast and Microsoft but nothing ever materialized.
Lead image courtesy Frank Gaertner via Shutterstock