Anki Robots in the U.S. Goes Out of Business, 6.5 Million Devices Have Been Sold
The boom in the robotics industry continues to rise, and more and more companies are entering, especially some start-up companies, who have launched innovative new Robotic products from a new perspective and using cutting-edge technologies, and have become dazzling new stars in the market. However, the dream of starting a business is arduous and risky. Before the product is applied on a large scale, the startup must maintain a certain amount of operating capital.
Anki, an artificial intelligence robot toy startup based in San Francisco, has officially shut down recently. The company will lay off its only 200 employees, and each employee will receive a week of severance pay. As you can see, this is one of many examples of shattered dreams for robotics startups.
Anki once received $200 million in funding from venture capital institutions, including Index Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, JP Morgan, etc. After the funds were burned out, the company planned to seek a new round of financing, but the transaction failed to materialize at the last minute and did not attract Acquisition interest from companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Comcast ended in failure.
It is reported that Anki has launched representative products such as Overdrive and Cozmo. It has sold 6.5 million devices so far, and 1.5 million Robots were sold in August last year alone. Among them, Cozmo was the best-selling toy on Amazon in 2017, with more than 15,000 developer users. And in the fall of 2018, the company revealed that it had nearly $100 million in revenue in 2017, and is on track to surpass that figure the following year.
As you can see, Anki has had some success on a small scale, but still needs to fund future product development and expand on its platform. Long-term product roadmaps cannot be supported without substantial funding to support the hardware and software business.
Founded in 2010 with a mission to “bring artificial intelligence and robotics to everyday life”, Anki has made a splash with smartphone-controlled cars and set the Anki Drive to open the market, which was featured on stage at Apple’s 2013 WorldWide developer conference Demo, later became an Apple retail partner and launched several Overdrive accessories, including a line of Hot Wheels branded products.
The company leveraged AI research and a team of DreamWorks animators to create Cozmo, an adorable robot toy that’s ahead of Vecto. But both are more expensive as early products, with Cozmo priced at $180 and Vector at $249. Excessive pricing may be one of the reasons for the failure of most startups. The cost of developing early products is too high, and market users are not willing to pay.
There have been many cases of robotic startup failures over the years. It follows the collapse of Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch-backed startup that was developing the Kuri, a home robot priced at $700. Earlier, robotics company Jibo designed a social bot featuring a custom conversational assistant, but it didn’t develop. And Industrial robotics company Rethink Robotics shut down after running out of funds and failing to find an acquirer.
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