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Remembering the startups we lost in 2019

By April 2019, Anki had shut its doors, in spite of selling 1.5 million robots and “hundreds of thousands” of Cozmo models.

Total raised: $3 million, acquired by Ford in 2017

After acquiring the service two years ago, Ford shut it down at the beginning of 2019.

Daqri, another high-flying, heavily funded AR headset business, shut its doors around September and completed an asset sale.

Daqri was, at one point, speaking with a large private equity firm about financing ahead of a potential IPO, but as the technical realities facing other AR companies came to light, the firm backed out and the deal crumbled, according to earlier TechCrunch reporting.

HomeShare tried to deal with the challenge of rapidly rising housing costs by matching roommates who shared apartments split into “micro-rooms.” The company said that as of March, it had about 1,000 active residents.

Between Anki and Jibo, you could say it was a tough year for consumer social robots.

The end came in spite of a successful crowdfunding campaign and a healthy amount of venture capital raised.

In spite of it all, the startup was forced to lay off most of its staff and then, ultimately, send Jibo upstate to live on the robo-farm.

When we were putting this list together, one TechCruncher remarked that he swore MoviePass shut down years ago.

Namely, the food delivery startup took advantage of them in its final hours, knowingly allowing them to continue making deliveries it couldn’t pay for.

One of the most recent additions to this list, Bay Area-based food startup Nomiku called it quits earlier this month.

In multiple successful Kickstarter campaigns totaling $1.3 million, backing from Samsung Ventures and an attempted pivot into meal plans, the startup just couldn’t survive.

Only a couple of years ago, the company raised a $58 million financing — less than a year later, it had burned through its funding and couldn’t pay employees.

By early 2019, only a skeleton crew awaited a patent sale after acquisitions from several large tech companies, including Facebook and Magic Leap, fell through.

The startup began as a physical storage company, then tried to pivot after selling off its physical storage operations to competitor Clutter in May — it tried, unsuccessfully, to build a white-label software platform that would allow brick-and-mortar merchants to operate their own businesses for renting and selling products.

Founded by former Googlers Olcan Sercinoglu and Dmitry Lepikhin, Scaled Inference made headlines in 2014 with a plan to build machine learning and artificial intelligence technology similar to what’s used internally by companies like Google, and making it available as a cloud service that can be used by anyone.

In April, the company announced that it was ending U.S. operations.

As the story goes, the business spent way too much money on Facebook and Google ads; the startup quickly shut down with no money left over to issue refunds for more than 300 of its $699 scooters that had been ordered.

The not-so-aptly named Unicorn had completed the Y Combinator startup accelerator only a few months before it called it quits, likely making it one of the fastest YC grads to shutter post-graduation.

“And as the weather continued to get colder throughout the US and more scooters from other companies came on to the market, it became harder and harder to sell Unicorns, leading to a higher cost for ads and fewer customers.”

“Unfortunately, the VR market never developed as quickly as we all had hoped, and we were definitely ahead of our time,” the company said in a blog post.

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