Anki, a San Francisco-based startup known for robotic creations such as Vector, Cozmo, and AnkiDrive, is reportedly closing down.
That’s according to a new report from Recode which explains that the once Apple-endorsed robotics company’s CEO Boris Sofman suddenly told employees the company is closing. About 200 people will lose their jobs this week and only get a week of severance.
“In a teary all-hands meeting on Monday morning, CEO Boris Sofman told his staff they would be terminated on Wednesday and that close to 200 employees would be paid a week of severance, according to people familiar with the matter,” reads the report.
Anki, which has raised more than $200 million USD in venture capital funding, told Recode it lacked “significant funding to support a hardware and software business” and therefore couldn’t follow through with its “long-term product roadmap”.
The CEO explained: “Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms… 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, which was founded by Mark Palatucci, Sofman, and Hanns Tappeiner in 2010 with the mission of “bring[ing] artificial intelligence and robotics into [users’] daily lives,” made a splash six years ago with its smartphone-controlled car set AnkiDrive, which was demonstrated onstage at Apple’s 2013 Worldwide Developer Conference. Anki later became an Apple retail partner and introduced several Overdrive accessories, including a series with Hot Wheels branding.