Reach Robotics, a Bristol, United Kingdom-based consumer robotics company, has shut down its consumer robotics business. Reach Robotics Co-Founder Silas Adekunle made the announcement on LinkedIn.
The Robot Report emailed Reach Robotics Co-Founder John Rees and received an automated response that said, “the decision has been made to close the business and appoint administrators, effective as of 02/09/2019.”
Reach Robotics raised a total of $7.8 million, according to Crunchbase. It launched its MekaMon gaming robots in late 2016 that combine augmented reality (AR) and a four-legged toy robot. Essentially, the MekaMon robot moves around a physical space while users battle virtual enemies through an AR game on an app. Reach Robotics launched version 2 of MekaMon about 10 months ago.
In a post called “Reach Robotics – End of the Road,” Adekunle mentioned the “consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space – especially for a start-up.” Below is Adekunle’s LinkedIn post reprinted in its entirety:
“Unfortunately, for Reach Robotics, in its current form at least, today marks the end of that journey.
“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. Since founding Reach Robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, we made huge strides in our technology both in terms of our hardware and app development. We took MekaMon from prototype to market, introduce the world to the first gaming robot with seamless AR integration, launched in dozens of territories and developed a unique education offering that will live on through many initiatives.
“This simply could not have happened without the highly skilled and creative people that have been part of the Reach Robotics journey. I speak for myself and my fellow co-founders Chris Beck and John Rees when I say it has been a privilege and we have no doubt that they will continue to innovate and enrich the sector. Personally, I am grateful for the experience, lessons learnt, the connections and the opportunity to inspire young people from under-represented backgrounds in STEM and entrepreneurship.
“I am thankful to everyone who has been a part of this journey, from my co-founders Chris and John, who have been there through thick and thin, to members of the management team who were supportive in the most difficult of times, Jonathan Quinn, Kathryn Green, Philip Green just to name a few.
“Thank you to all of our investors, advisers, mentors, family and friends over the years. Special thanks to UWE, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Pervasive Media Studio, SetSquared and so many others who have supported our growth. Reach Robotics began with the vision of creating advanced and accessible robotics to entertain, inspire and educate. I hope to carry that vision forward into the future.
“Following some travel and much needed rest, the journey will continue in the Non consumer Robotics sector and the STEAM Education sector.”
The Times, a British newspaper, reported in July 2019 Reach Robotics was cash-strapped. The report said, “It is under pressure from a creditor and is looking for investment or a sale to stave off collapse. Reach filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator last week, giving it 10 working days to settle its debts. It has been laying off some of its 30 staff.”
Adekunle fired back, however, telling BusinessCloud, “sometimes you file to give yourself just enough time to settle creditors so you’re not forced into liquidation where the assets then become at risk.” The report added that Reach Robotics was in “due diligence discussions for acquisition as it repositions itself from a consumer-facing robotics firm to one with education at its core.”
Reach Robotics launched a division in May 2019 aimed at the STEM education sector called ReachEdu. It is unclear if ReachEdu will continue as a business unit. The Robot Report contacted Adekunle and other representatives for clarification. This story will be updated if new information is uncovered.