Nigeria’s robotics engineer Adekunle shuts down business in UK

Silas Adekunle, a Robotic engineer

A Nigeria-born robotic engineer, Silas Adekunle has shut down Reach Robotics, the Bristol, United Kingdom-based consumer robotics company, that he co-founded a few years ago.

Adekunle, who announce this decision on his LinkedIn account said he was going to focus on new things.

One of the Co-founders, John Rees confirmed that the decision has been made to close the business and appoint administrators, effective as of Sept, 2, according to a report by therobotreport.com

Reach Robotics raised $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, with Apple reaching a deal to sell the robot in all its stores in the UK and United States.

Version 2 of MekaMon was launched 10 months ago.

In a post called “Reach Robotics – End of the Road,” Adekunle said “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.

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“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, advisors, 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 the 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 that Reach Robotics was cash-strapped.

“It is under pressure from a creditor and is looking for investment or a sale to stave off collapse.

“Reach filed a 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,” The Times reported.

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Adekunle responded, saying “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 Reach Robotics is in due diligence discussions for acquisition as it repositions itself from a consumer-facing robotics firm to one with education at its core.

It was launched in May 2019, aimed at the STEM education sector called ReachEdu.

It is unclear if ReachEdu will continue as a business unit.

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