NIGERIAN-born robotics engineer Silas Adekunle has shut down the UK engineering firm Reach Robotics that he co-founded a few years ago saying he now intends to focus on other things.
Mr Adekunle who gained international attention with his famous Mekamon robot, runs Reach Robotics from Bristol in southwest England. One of his co-founders John Rees confirmed that the decision has been made to close the business and appoint administrators, effective from September 2.
Reach Robotics raised a total of $7.8m. It launched its MekaMon gaming robots in late 2016 that combine augmented reality and a four-legged toy robot in conjunction with Apple, reaching a deal to sell it in all its stores in the UK and the US.
Version 2 of MekaMon was launched 10 months ago but in a LinkedIn post called Reach Robotics End of the Road, Mr Adekunle mentioned the consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space, especially for a start-up. Reach Robotics launched a division in May 2019 aimed at the STEM education sector called ReachEdu.
Mr Adekunle said: “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 as 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.”
Last week, Reach Robotics filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator, giving it 10 working days to settle its debts. Reach Robotics is said to be in due diligence discussions for acquisition as it repositions itself from a consumer-facing robotics firm to one with education at its core.