In a letter to backers today, Bay Area-based Mayfield Robotics said it was “crushed” to announce that it has ceased manufacturing of its home robot, Kuri. The note finds the Bosch-backed business grappling with an uncertain future, as it pauses all operations and re-evaluates its future.
Launched in 2015, as part of Bosch’s Startup Platform, the company debuted its home robot at CES the following year. It took close to two years, but the company finally began shipping the adorable little robot to backers in late 2017. Kuri also appeared on stage at our robotics event, back in May.
According to the letter, however, Bosch struggled to find good fit for the company in its broader portfolio.
“From the beginning, we have been constantly looking for the best paths to achieve scale and continue to advance our innovative technology,” the company writes. “Typically, startups in the Bosch Startup Platform are integrated into existing Bosch business units, but after extensive review, there was not a business fit within Bosch to support and scale our business.”
Home robotics have, of course, had a famously difficult time finding mainstream success, through a combination of prohibitive pricing (Kuri carried a $700 price tag) and limited functionality. Only the hyper-focused Roomba has managed to effectively buck that trend.
Existing within the larger confines of Bosch likely sheltered the company from some of those harsher realities, but ultimately, corporations have little time for products that don’t play into their larger strategies. Without a support structure, the future remains one giant question mark for the company.
“Creating a robot like Kuri is a massive undertaking,” Mayfield writes. “We don’t know what the coming months will bring. Regardless, we stand firm in our belief that the home robot Renaissance is just beginning, and it’s going to be amazing.”