It is tough times for start ups, in fashionable and competitive arenas such as Robotics or IOT the competition is vast and the consumers have so much choice!
When I saw the news about Anki shutting down I couldn't help but feel that there was an element of inevitability about it. Founded in 2010, Anki entered the market and created considerable excitement, amongst both investors and consumers. They brought to market cutting edge technology in emerging fields such as AI and Robotics.
However there has been a decline in commercial success and that initial excitement. The most successful products typically solve a problem, or make daily life simpler, the main criticism Anki faced over the years was that their products where really just a toy.
The excitement from consumers regarding Robotics and AI still exists. The change is in the competition, with renowned brands now releasing products that solve problems - look at robotic lawnmowers, hoovers etc... Cool technology and great products that solve a problem. The price consumers need to pay for products in areas such as robotics is high, its important they get value for money and some form of return.
But its buzz has cooled considerably in recent years as some investors grew skittish about hardware plays and others struggled to wrap their heads around what could reductively be considered just a toy business.