Mini-robot Maker Anki Shuts Down Operations


Anki, one of the most famous manufacturers of miniature robots shut down its operations / Photo by: vinsky2002 via Pixabay


Anki, the maker of mini-robots Cozmo and Vector, shut down its operations on Wednesday following an emotional staff meeting on Monday morning led by CEO Boris Sofman.

In a statement to TechCrunch, the robotics company said it will let go of its employees starting Wednesday due to insignificant funding for the business.

"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," Anki said.

"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."

Consumer robots is not an easy field to venture into, but Anki fared well when it impressed the world at Apple's WWDC keynote in 2013 with its Drive cars and went on to build the famous mini-robots Cozmo and Vector.

But even with these past successes, the company said they still pursued all known financial avenue to fund future product development and platform expansion.

"A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement," Anki said in their statement to TechCrunch, adding that they will do their best to tend to their employees and their families as the management explores every available option.

Anki did not comment nor provided additional insight into the future of its products.

Crunchbase reported that throughout its operations, the robotics startup was able to raise $182 million. However, Anki was also spending quite high amounts as they hired composers and former animators from Pixar and Dreamworks to ramp up the personality of Cozmo and then Vector, its follow-up robot focused on adults.