ReconRobotics hit by defense budget cuts

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By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

ReconRobotics, the much-noticed maker of lightweight, self-propelled robots for armed forces and security agencies, has let go about two-thirds of its 60 employees and in-house contractors.

The head of the Edina company, born of University of Minnesota robot research, blamed the layoffs on the failure of the U.S. Army to buy, as expected, 1,000 Recon Scout robots for $13 million in 2013. CEO Alan Bignall said Wednesday in an interview that the privately held company, which peaked at about $22 million in revenue in 2012, struggled last year as defense spending was affected by the “sequester” forced when Congress and the White House couldn’t reach a budget deal.”

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