6 years ago we started working on a crazy project, a new device to make it easier to watch movies and listen to music everywhere at home.
It looked like a robot, it had to be autonomous and smart, and eventually start to learn to better serve us. You can find all founding documents here: Product Genesis / Company Vision / Internal Culture
I knew nothing about hardware, knew nothing about robots, knew nothing about fundraising, but 6 years later we have over 1000 robots out there, thousands of users and have seen some amazing stats like 3.5h of usage for day.
We’ve pleased hundreds of customers, frustrated some that have very high expectations. We did the best we could with our limited budget.
As many startups, we have had cycles of fundraising: capital is needed to fund companies like us that will take years to become profitable.
While we had always found great investors along the way, this time, we haven’t.
I write this post with deep sadness, today we have to shut down Keecker and stop operating.
Basically put, we ran out of cash, and we’re not able to find investors to keep us going. We had a great product, a great technology, built by an amazing team, we’re all very sad to see it stop.
Building hardware is difficult, but we did it.
Building autonomous machines is hard but we did it.
Building a profitable cash machine in B2C robotics is harder and we couldn’t convince investors to further fund us.
We’ve seen others like Jibo and Kuri fail last year, we fought like dogs not to follow their path, but in the end there is a strong sentiment again consumer robots that we couldn’t get past. Consumer electronics is a tough market where David is likely to fall against the many Goliath.
Keecker was a dream, a dream to think about users first, a dream to focus on shared tech (TVs, speakers, cameras) and a dream to engage with people in a much more useful way.
We know that one day, pretty soon, big brands will launch similar products. Our dream wasn’t wrong, we just tackled a big problem with little means and weren’t able to convince enough investors to get behind our project.
Maybe we were too early, maybe we were too expensive, maybe we didn’t try all possible ways to make money, maybe we weren’t good enough, maybe we didn’t meet the right people, lots of possible causes but in the end, I am proud of what we achieved, I’m unbelievably proud of the team that put all these long hours to build this product and proud of the 6 years we had at Keecker.
What is certain is that little smart autonomous machines are coming, we just hope they’ll be safe.
We are proud to have contributed to the world, to have pioneered into this field, even though we weren’t able to have the impact we hoped for initially.
To you, our customers:
We thank you for your trust and for seeing the value of what we created. You are visionaries, you are the best early adopters, you gave us faith and gave us strength to go further and try again and again to work better.
I know Keecker wasn’t perfect, we were not perfect, we were exploring a completely new type of machine and interactions and we couldn’t do all we wanted simply because we didn’t have enough people, enough ressources.
We wish we could have continued to develop more features and continue to improve the global experience you have with the robot.
What’s next for you?
We have published a last Over The Air (OTA) update to all our robots on March 8th, along with a new version of the Android and iOS apps.
Through this update, we have removed the dependencies to our servers which will no longer function with time. This means that robots will continue to function without requiring Keecker servers, this is the least we could do, making sure your devices will continue to work even though Keecker no longer exists as a company, so you can continue to watch movies, play music, talk to Keecker and get it to move by itself.
However, some features will disappear:
- remote video access
- home analytics
- Keecker video conferencing
These required our servers to work and couldn’t be easily reworked to continue to work without paying for servers. We apologise for this, we tried, but couldn’t find a suitable solution to maintain them.
However, as Keecker runs on Android, and through the external SDK, anyone that can code, can continue to add functionalities, even recreate these features that will no longer exist and publish them on the Google Play Store for anyone to use.
More information on the SDK here
I have so many people to thank. Our story has been first and foremost about people. Hundreds of people have made this project possible and I’m deeply thankful to all of them. In the end, some will be friends, some will be touched and sad, some will be angry, some will have lost money, but I think that all believed in our project and did their best and for this I will be forever grateful.
We’ve been blessed by the chance of doing what we wanted, on working on something that was meaningful, that made us dream and believe. This is a rare chance, not many have this chance in their life and work. Failure is part of the deal and the main downside to these types of projects, so we can only accept it, learn and get better for the future.
First, to the dream team, to the 70 people that worked on Keecker throughout time, I’ll repeat it, but you made it happen, it was your baby as much as mine and we together have been able to achieve something truly incredible, you’re the best! Be proud! Keecker was a success and you’ve done an amazing job getting it off the ground and on the shelves. I wish you all the best for your future projects, you’ll always be special people for me. Thank you Thomas, Alix, Martin, Sarah, Maxime, Diana, Romain, Thomas, Constance, Cyril, Lynda, Alexandre, Guillaume, Christopher, Kevin, Jules, Florent, Matthieu, Céline, Arnaud, Léo, Romain, Thibault, Phoum, Aloys, Alicia, Omar, Amado, Valentin, Hae Jin, Felipe, Franck, Claire, Xin, Jason, Antoine, Chris, Carly, Philippe, Antoine, Mohamed, Robin, Xavier, Emeric, Olivier, Corentin, Diorèle, Kayla, Cédric, Florian, Lucia, Tristan, Thibaut, Alexis, Ludovic, Emeline, Felipe, Romain, Xavier, Benjamin, Nicolas, Norman, Samuel, Anh Tuan, Maxime, François, Soukaina, Alexandre, Stéphane.
To all my friends, family and advisors: it wouldn’t have been able without you either. As a founder, you need early support and you all gave me just that. Many spent hours talking and advising, others were just here for me when it was tough, others helped with introductions, advise, critics, all were positive, supportive and simply amazing.
To our investors: likewise, it wouldn’t have been possible at all without you. You were all behind it, you believed in me and in the idea of changing the world, you looked beyond all the issues facing hardware companies and saw the potential. This is a rare thing and I am truly grateful to you and thank you for trusting me and the team in our ability to deliver. In a sense we did deliver, but we were not able to find others like you with more funds to help us grow further. Losing is part of the game, but still I’m sorry and wished we could have had a better end.
To our partners and vendors: we’ve built Keecker with your help and support, several key partners have believed in us and helped us way beyond expectations, simply put Keecker is today in people’s homes thanks to you. We’re sincerely sorry about the losses incurred by some of you.
Finally and most importantly, my last words go to my wife, you were my backbone throughout these 6 years, you were my source of inspiration and my stronghold where I could recharge and get never-ending support. You were there at all times and always had the best of advice. I personally wouldn’t have done this without you.
Founder & CEO