The Anki robotics company – the creator of Anki Drive, an AI-equipped remote control car racing game, as well as the Overdrive, Cosmo and Vector robots – will shut down on Wednesday, putting nearly 200 folks on the unemployment line.
Anki CEO Boris Sofman told the staff of the impending shutdown at a meeting on Monday, says Recode. The report’s sources indicated the laid-off employees will each be paid a week of severance pay.
The company was faced with the decision to shutdown after a recent financing deal fell through at the last minute. Sofman had told employees a few days ago that the company was searching for more investments after a new round of financing fell through, dooming the company.
“Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” an Anki spokesperson said. “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.”
Anki revenue had neared $100 million in 2017, and expected to top that in 2018. The company had received over $200 million in venture capital funding. Anki executives claimed there had been takeover interest from large companies, including Amazon, Comcast, and Microsoft, however, and actual takeover offer failed to materialize.
Anki drove into the spotlight in 2013, thanks to a stage demo at an Apple press event, there the company showed off Anki Drive, an AI-equipped remote control car racing game.
While Anki aimed to become a full-fledged robotics firm, the company never really moved beyond being a toy manufacturer.