Despite Considerable Investment, The Personal Robot Market is Struggling

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3Q 2018 | IN-5209


Startup Pains


After winning admirers and accolades in 2017, Boston-based personal robot manufacturer Jibo, developer of the eponymous robot, has announced a series of layoffs as of June 2018, less than a year after the platform was released to market. The layoffs, seeing the workforce diminish from 100 to less than 10, are part of a restructuring process while Jibo tries to accrue more funding, even though the company has already been the target of US$72 million worth of investment.

Mayfield Robotics, a California-based startup, has also struggled, recently announcing that it will pause operations indefinitely, leading to cessation of manufacturing its Kuri product, and the refunding of all preorders. Mayfield Robotics had been connected to Bosch’s startup programs.

These were not marginal names on the burgeoning roster of social robot startups, but were highly touted companies that had won numerous accolades and were some of the most well-known robotics companies. That they have fallen to a near defunct state in less than a year is symbolic of the challenge facing the social robot indu…

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