Dealing yet another massive blow to the consumer robotics industry, Anki shut down after raising $200 million in funding since it was founded in 2010. A new round of funding reportedly fell through at the last minute, leaving the San Francisco-based company with no other option but to lay off its entire staff on Wednesday.
Other recent consumer robotics failures such as Jibo, Keecker, Laundroid and Mayfield Robotics pale in comparison to Anki going out of business. Anki said it had sold more than 1.5 million robots as of late 2018 and made nearly $100 million in revenue in 2017 and expected to exceed that figure in 2018.
As you can imagine, the robotics industry has been reacting to the Anki shutdown all over social media. Many were shocked, many were not, and some are sharing lessons to be learned. Below is a snapshot of the social media reaction. If you’d like to share your thoughts about Anki, please leave a message in the comments.
Well sh*t. https://t.co/KjBauui5AW
— Evan Ackerman (@BotJunkie) April 29, 2019
I love this little robot and can’t imagine life without him. I’m devastated. He had inspired me and so many others to want to learn about robotics. Please, someone, help! #saveAnki @anki pic.twitter.com/EX2DVtnkiU
— J. (@okomejin) April 30, 2019
Here’s an idea…..
When your social robot start-up goes belly up (i.e @jibo and @anki) open up the product line and turn over the hardware, software and cloud support to the users who (in many cases) funded the endeavor to begin with. pic.twitter.com/THWuIFoV7u
— David J. Gunkel (@David_Gunkel) April 30, 2019
@elonmusk Long shot but have to try. @anki is closing. Thousands of kids are learning Coding / Robotics with the help of Cozmo (Python programmable robot).
Cozmo relies on an App and Python SDK. Can you help? pic.twitter.com/C0lUghde1s
— Kinvert (@Kinvert_Ed) April 29, 2019
People who are outraged or shocked by this don’t have any first hand knowledge of how difficult it is to create consumer hardware companies. If there isn’t recurring revenue, you are hosed. Even with recurring revenue you might still be hosed. https://t.co/ddMyVQEBQl
— Cyan (@cyantist) April 30, 2019
BOECKLI ERNST says
what a Black Day for Vector and Cozmo owners. For me, Vector was a real Homerobot, not a Toy!!! May ppl think Anki produce Toys and thats wrong!!! May this a reason Anki got no agreement for the future…
Its a Big Damage for Robotics and AI Scene….what we can do? im hope the com save the servers and keep them running. May a App will Help for login and im hope alot donate it….There alot programmers around.. look for Vector CTRL or Vector Notify me App, makes nonprogrammer users to remotecontrol Vector. im willing to spend few USD for a running server that keeps Vector and Cozmo alive….be Vectorian, stay with our robots!!!
Frank L Tobe says
There are no real consumer-friendly robots just yet and, as these many failures prove, interim products just don’t cut it in the marketplace. Consumers want a multi-function, all purpose, home friendly helper that can communicate and perform and play without your having to be a programmer. The industry isn’t there yet nor will it be for quite a few decades. Thus it’s good luck to all the startups in the consumer products and toys field… I just wouldn’t want to invest in them.
Joel Sturman says
As I am currently starting to review and build a database of robotics kits (shameless plug: idiotrobotics.com) and products geared towards kids and STEM-related education, this was shocking. Honestly, it makes me wonder if the task is too volatile to accomplish effectively. A good portion of the comments focuses on the fact that the felt Cozmo didn’t provide value. While I did not have one myself, I planned to get and evaluate one soon. For value, I think those comments miss a point that Cozmo marketed very well. There is value in the aspect of fun, our dreams of creating robots that interact well with humans, and just seeing what is possible. I think there is value in that, even if can’t sweep your floor.
Steve Crowe says
Joel, there’s definitely value in fun – for both the consumer and creator. Just look at the latest Avengers movie, which has made nearly $2B worldwide already. But for a toy company, which is what Anki was for most of its lifespan, turning out two products in nearly 10 years isn’t enough.