The $200 Million Toy

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I was absolutely stunned to see this headline:

Long-time readers may recall that I actually started a number of small robot businesses many years ago. I wrote about my most ambitious venture, Robot Center, in a two-part pieces (here and here).

In those days, what was called “funding” was along the lines of $15,000 or so. But with this “Anki” company (which I had never heard of), in this world absolutely awash in money looking for a home, they managed to raised one fifth of a BILLION dollars for…………..a toy. Here, take a look:

Now, look, it seems like a really cool little product. Honestly. I would have absolutely loved to have sold something like this at the Robot Center.

But Good God Almighty, just how many of these little things would they need to sell in order to justify that kind of money? I mean, honestly, if they raised $200 million, it must mean that the latter valuations were about half a billion dollars or so. Are you SERIOUS?

Anyway, the money is all gone. This startup had 200 employees, all of whom have been fired and provided a not-terribly-generous single week’s worth of severance. So I’m not sure what grade of cocaine the executives were buying, but $200 million is a lot of money to lose.

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