Anki, the San Francisco-based robotics company that specialized in the manufacture of toys controlled by smartphones, is closing this week, reports Recode . The sudden news, delivered to the staff today by CEO Boris Sofman, means that the company's staff of nearly 200 people will lose their jobs on Wednesday, with only a week of layoffs. Anki raised more than $ 200 million in venture capital funds to date.
According to Recode Anki ran out of money and could no longer "support a hardware and software business" that would allow him to achieve his "long-term product roadmap". Last August, Anki said he had sold 1.5 million robot units to date, which seems to have included both his toy cars and his personal robots. That was not enough to keep the business going.
"Despite our past successes, we pursue all financial avenues to fund our future product development and expand our platforms," says a company spokesperson Recode . "An important financial agreement at a late stage failed with a strategic investor and we could not reach an agreement. "We are doing everything possible to take care of all employees and their families, and our management team continues to explore all available options."
Anki arrived on the scene in 2013 with a toy-controlled toy car game called Anki Drive, which received a rare spotlight on the stage at an Apple developer conference that year before becoming a partner retailer of the iPhone manufacturer. The company, founded by Carnegie Mellon robots, compared its toy cars to robots controlled by artificial intelligence, as they followed their own paths and could be programmed to drive, according to several presets and controls in the mobile application. Over the years, he added trucks, a renewal of Anki Drive that was called Anki Overdrive and a partnership with Hot Wheels.
The company's most recent flagship product was most firmly in the robotics department. It was called Cozmo and it was a Pixar-style toy robot with anthropomorphic characteristics that it could control, play games and even be programmed. Anki followed Cozmo with Vector, a more advanced version of the robot he hoped to use for older clients, not just children. Apparently, none of the products was enough to keep Anki afloat, even though he had sold hundreds of thousands of Cozmo units last summer.