Only lived for 5 years.
Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public account “qubits” (ID: QbitAI ), the author of the chestnut.
Another radiant robot company closed down.
Founded in 2014, it was selected in the “Robot Business Review” annual authority list RBR502016 in just 2 years, becoming the world’s top 50 robotics technology. At that time, many of the giants on the list were giants, including ABB, FANUC, and Dajiang, as well as Google and Amazon…
△CarbonRobotics founder RosannaMyers (Via Bloomberg)
This company is called CarbonRobotics, which produces the world’s cheapest industrial robot arm: 20,000 US dollars for other families, and KATIA’s two thousand dollars – only one-tenth, the most cost-effective.
And not only is the price friendly, but the function is still very rich.
KATIA can do 3D printing:
Do laser cutting:
You can also decorate the cake according to the pattern you designed.
In addition to the ability to “out of the box”, humans can also customize new tasks, train this robotic arm, and train a skill in 30 minutes.
In one sentence, describe such companies and products: hardware is cheap, software intelligence. The company looks promising.
However, I never imagined that the CarbonRobotics of such ability was suddenly exposed to “death”: the asset was sold soon, and the official website was gone.
Finance 37 million, now bankruptcy sale
The media report TheInformation reported that when the reporter went to the CarbonRobotics San Francisco headquarters, the company was empty.
Earlier on October 2, the board of directors chose to bring the company into bankruptcy. They chose a form of bankruptcy permitted by California law: a third party oversees the sale of the company’s remaining assets.
And the third party they hired, a consulting firm called Sherwood, the CEO also personally confirmed the news.
This consulting firm is unwilling to disclose how much the total value of assets awaiting sale is.
However, a prepared document shows that five KATIA robot arms, software source code, test equipment, and a series of patents that are produced and functioning are in the sale range.
As for why this step is taken, the document also mentions the direct cause: no money.
For most of 2019, CarbonRobotics is getting tighter on hand.
Choose bankruptcy, probably already has not enough money to support it to continue to live.
Although I don’t know the specific sales and profit situation, if the CarbonRobotics is established from the perspective of financing, I have not made enough financing reserves.
Public information shows that this robotic arm company has raised a total of 5.36 million US dollars from 2014 to the present, which is about RMB 37 million.
In addition to the $2 million seed round in 2016, a new $2 million was added in 2018, but there will be no more investment thereafter.
If you compare from financing alone, CA company like arbonRobotics is nothing at home, but if combined with its scenery and sensation, it may be more aware of the real bones in the robot field.
Once famous, I want to be a robot in the field of Apple Microsoft
The first round of investment in 2016 is also the most exposed period for CarbonRobotics.
At the beginning of the year, the team stood on the CES, the TechCrunch hardware competition at the world’s largest consumer electronics show, and made it to the finals. At the same time, it was also shortlisted for the finals of CES’s best startups.
Their dreams are also very moving and full of emotions:
Make the robot arm as popular as a computer.
Win the judges for a good look.
And CarbonRobotics has more than a slogan, as well as a specific pain point solution.
They said that they should start from solving the three major challenges of the existing robotic arm:
One is expensive, the second is difficult to use, and the third is security in human-computer collaboration.
But the CarbonRobotics team is confident that its product KATIA can solve these three challenges and pain points at the same time.
First is the price. The industrial robot arm in the market is more than 20,000 US dollars, and KATIA is priced at 2,000 US dollars. One tenth of the price-performance competitiveness is close to the price of a computer, which makes it easier to enter ordinary people’s homes.
Second is easy to use. Known as its “machine”, KATIA’s full name is KickAssTrainableIntelligentArm, which means “super powerful training robot arm”.
As an industrial grade product, it weighs only 1 kg, has a precision of half a millimeter, and has a range of 1 meter, supporting a variety of applications.
As for training, you want it to perform your customTask, put the required tools at the end, and train for 30 minutes to learn a new skill.
How to train? Even if the user doesn’t write the code, just telling it manually what the task is is enough:
Is it very moving to see this promotion demo?
There is almost no threshold, everyone – programming will not be programmed, you can easily get started.
And don’t forget, their ultimate goal is to “make the robotic arm as popular as a computer.” From engineers to artists, they are the users they want to cover.
It’s just Jobs and Bill Gates in the robot era.
In addition, if you want to make more complex and beautiful features, you can also use the KATIA App to further implement.
For example, the skills of seeing flowers at the beginning are realized by the power of the app. Review it:
In addition to hardware and software products, CarbonRobotics hopes to further build a developer platform, just like Apple’s Appstore.
CarbonRobotics also revealed that the development process can be greatly simplified through the various APIs provided by KATIA. In 2016, there are already more than 800 developers contributing skills.
Of course, don’t forget the mechanical point of the application of CarbonRobotics: the safety in human-machine collaboration.
In order to allow KATIA to coexist peacefully with humans, they developed a sensor that also patented it: it can detect humans in a range of 50 cm from any point on the robotic arm.
And also quite intelligent, in a “training mode” that requires human involvement, this sensor allows people to interact with the robotic arm, distinguishing it from the state in which the task is performed.
I don’t know if you have listened to such a vision of love, what do you think about the demo of such product capabilities?
But from CES to the robot circle,CarbonRobotics is really regarded as the rising star of tomorrow, and it is naturally reasonable to rush into the world’s top 50 robotics.
The founding team is not a grass team.
The two founders are real American elites. CEO Rosanna Myers and CTO DanCorkum both studied at Duff University in Harvard, South Africa, and co-founded the company during the university. And have chosen Forbes 30under30.
Like the story of two Google Stanford student founders.
But they don’t have the story of Google’s magical kid. After 2016, the CEO of CarbonRobotics has appeared from time to time. Until August, he also attended various events to maintain his presence, but the team has never published any new technology. New progress has been made.
△CEO appeared in a technology women’s event this summer
More than this robot company fell down
Although the funds are getting more and more distressed, the CarbonRobotics official website has been showing recruitment until it disappears, and the company joined the recruitment week in July this year.
At that time, there was no strong indication that “it was about to end soon”, at least not from the outside.
After only three months, the company is already selling assets, and the number of employees is fixed at 11-20.
所It’s so shocking and unpredictable that it has surprised many insiders and outsiders.
But the analyst who has been paying attention to the robot/mechanical arm for a long time may comment on this.
In the face of this bankruptcy, IDC analyst RemyGlaisner feels:
The mechanics of the robot are changing. Many start-up teams have been able to break into such areas because of the choice of software routes, the use of third-party templates for hardware, and the proliferation of suppliers of production robots. Avoiding “heavy” and “light” can also reduce the financing pressure of the team.
Therefore, for a long time, the lack of software and hardware capabilities became a common situation for startups.
But once the hardware giant “woke up,” the market situation changed suddenly.
In recent years, giants like ABB have started to launch low-cost robotic arms, and with the many incomparable cost-effective robotic arm startups, the competition has never been more intense.
There is a natural choice for the competition and the industry to start the bubble. Everyone’s living space is getting smaller and smaller. In the end, the star company such as CarbonRobotics has a good vision and the barriers are not deep enough. It is finally squeezed out of the track.
It sounds pity, but the same fate has actually happened to the more heavyweight robotic arm company.
RethinkRobotics, which was founded in 2008, has produced two star robots, Baxter and Sawyer, with a cumulative financing of $150 million. Amazon CEO Bezos has participated in eight investments from round A to round E.
In 2018, the company announced its closure shortly after the good news of the sale of 2,500 robots. Prior to that, RethinkRobotics was once the world’s top 50 in robotics.
Their robots are also safe to live with humans and are fighters in Cobots. It is also they who have turned the concept of collaborative robots into a pivotal part of the industry and carried forward.
Tokyo has a coffee shop called HennNaCafe, and bought a Baxter, which used a robotic arm to help guests make coffee, and once became a publicity point in the store.
And the founder of RethinkRobotics, or the famous MIT robot godfather RodneyBrooks.
RethinkRobotics has a big aura, a heavy investment, and a product that has been mass-produced compared to today’s CarbonRobotics.
But still can’t escape the fate of bankruptcy.
The difficulty of survival in this area of the robotic arm can be seen.
And not only the robotic arm, the entire robot industry has often crashed down the story – the company that was favored by capital all the time, suddenly closed.
These robots are called AnkiDRIVE and are smart car toys. After its release in 2013, it became the second best-selling toy in Amazon.
The company that gave birth to it is called Anki. Since its inception in 2010, almost all of its products have become popular.
For example, another product launched in 2016: Cozmo robot. The size of the palm, the personality of the arrogant, can communicate with humans. You win the game with Cozmo and the robot will be “angry.” Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) even chose it as a teaching robot.
Also, as the FastCompany’s No.1 in the world’s most innovative enterprise robotics field in 2019, the company has sold more than 6.5 million products, with annual revenues approaching $100 million and cumulative financing of more than $200 million… /p>
It was announced in April this year that it closed down.
At that time, it was said that because of the failure of the new round of financing, Microsoft Amazon and other giants did not get it, and they could only close the liquidation.
New technology company welcomes commercialization exam
So looking at the star robot company that fell this year, perhaps the products have their own highlights, but also recognized by the outside world, but in the final real scale, commercialization ability can not support technical ambition.
Currently, CarbonRobotics has become a member of the list of technical and commercial mismatches, becoming a member of the de-foaming and becoming a star-changing meteor.