Anki, the startup responsible for adorable robotics, is closing its doors and will terminate nearly 200 employees Wednesday. CEO Boris Sofman broke the news to staff today, Recode reports. In a statement provided to Engadget, the company said, "A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement."
The news comes as a surprise, given that things seemed to be going well for Anki. Since its launch in 2010, the startup has raised more than $200 million in venture capital. Its main products Cozmo and Vector seemed to be successes. Vector launched last fall after a $2 million Kickstarter campaign, and most recently, it received Alexa integration. And Cozmo has been credited with teaching kids to code. The only shadow of a doubt seemed to be that the devices appeared more like toys than the advanced, AI-based robots that they were. Still, Microsoft, Amazon and Comcast had reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the company.
Anki told Engadget it pursued every financial avenue to fund its future product development and that management continues to explore all options available. In the meantime, employees will receive one week of severance pay, and we may have to bid farewell to the robot pals that had a kind of Pixar-like spunk and wit.
You can read Anki's full statement below:
It is with a heavy heart to announce that Anki will be letting go of our employees, effective Wednesday. We've shipped millions of units of product and left customers happy all over the world while building some of the most incredible technologies pointed toward a future with diverse AI and robotics driven applications. But without significant funding to support a hardware and software business and bridge to our long-term product roadmap, it is simply not feasible at this time. Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms. 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.