Anki shutdown: how the robotics world is reacting

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.

— 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

— 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.

— 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?

— 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.

— Cyan (@cyantist) April 30, 2019