The US startup responsible for bringing us the adorable toy robots Cozmo and Vector has decided to call it a day. Anki has announced overnight that it will let its 200 employees go on Wednesday, with the CEO confirming the news to staff earlier.
Anki didn’t have a huge presence in Australia; it pitched its toy robots to journalists, and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing Cozmo with my kids. Unfortunately, some of the other products weren’t quite so good. Anki OVERDRIVE – the car racing set – was enjoyable but only for a fairly brief time, and Anki Vector just didn’t feel as enjoyable to use.
Despite this, the company was doing well overseas, but not well enough to survive. After a financing deal fell through, the company decided enough was enough.
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 there’ll be no more toy robots to come.
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.
Given the way the Anki robots work, it seems quite likely that Cozmo and Overdrive will continue to work for existing customers. Vector is a bit of an unknown; with its cloud integration, it’s at least conceivable that some features may stop working.