Ninja Blocks 'going dark' as money runs out for IoT startup

Sydney Internet of Things startup Ninja Blocks is going through its final movements as the company's funding reaches its end.

It began with the eponymous Ninja Block that could be used to set up a form of home automation in 2012, and soon moved onto the Ninja Sphere a year later -- but three years and several funding rounds later, Ninja Blocks has run out of money.

Ninja Blocks said it will go dark in order to keep a reduced form of its cloud services running, as well as attempt to get at least one Sphere to each of its Kickstarter backers.

"We've tried everything we could to avoid this, but haven't succeeded," the company said in a forum post. "Ninja Blocks, the company, will almost surely be dead.

"With no credible source of funding on the horizon, and hardware still undelivered to kickstarter backers, we made the difficult decision to down tools."

Over $700,000 was raised by Ninja Blocks in its 2013 Kickstarter campaign, with over $100,000 gained in its 2012 campaign. As recent as October last year, the company raised $700,000 from investors including Singtel Innov8, Blackbird Ventures, and 500 Startups to expand into the United States. Ninja Blocks began with seed funding totalling $1 million in 2012 from investors including Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, StartupSmart reported at the time.

"Even with all the ninjas earning far below what they would expect to get somewhere else, our burn rate couldn't be sustained forever," the company said over the weekend. "Ninja Blocks has always run lean, and when the next round of investment fell through, we didn't have much runway left to adjust our course.

"Everything has been open sourced, and we'll be here to help the community keep developing it if they want to. As a company, we might be back at some point, but nothing is solid right now."

Ninja Blocks was a graduate of the Startmate incubator in 2012, which saw the incubator invest $25,000 for a 7.5 percent stake.

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