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Robotics startup Anki goes under

Anki, the company behind cute little robits like Vector has gone out of business. (Source: Anki)
Anki, the company behind cute little robits like Vector has gone out of business. (Source: Anki)
Anki, the startup which attempted to make robotics mainstream through tiny, but relatively expensive, toys has folded. Based in San Francisco, CEO Boris Sofman broke the news to emotional staff that all 200 have been laid off with just one week of severance pay.

San Francisco-based toy robotics startup Anki has folded. Founded by Carnegie Mellon robot roboticists, the startup raised over $200 million and had grown to a staff of 200 strong before being forced this week to pull the pin after running out of money. CEO Boris Sofman broke the bad news to staff on Monday and told them that their last day will be Wednesday with only one week of severance pay on the table.

A spokesperson spoke to Recode and offered this account:

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.

The first product from Anki was the Anki Drive race car set piloted via a smartphone and companion app. It even made an appearance at Apple’s developer conference as the cars could be programmed via the iOS companion app to drive on their own. In total, Anki sold over 1.5 million car sets and programmable robots before being forced to close its doors this week.

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2019-04-30 (Update: 2019-04-30)