Robotics startup that graced the stage at WWDC closes

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Anki
These tiny robot cars once looked like the future of gaming.
Screenshot: Apple

Robotics startup Anki, which graced the stage at WWDC in 2013, has closed up shop. The company previously raised more than $200 million in funding, but it had seemingly burned through the money.

Anki revealed this week that it will lay off its entire staff of almost 200 people. The startup previously enjoyed acquisition interest from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Comcast.

Apple showcased Anki’s first product, Anki Drive, at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference. This real-world video game involved miniature self-driving cars racing around a track. Designed for iOS, the game featured an upgrade system built around a mobile app. At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook hailed the startup as a game-changer.

However, despite being hailed as an amazing combination of the worlds of robotics and gaming, interest in Anki cooled. Rather than seeing it as both things at once, some (unfairly) viewed it too cutesy to be a serious robotics company.

“Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” a company spokesperson told Recode. “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.”

For those who want to relive it, here’s the 2013 keynote demonstration: