New York has a tech company that despite its frenetic creativity almost shuns publicity; however, as any product manager working in tech can testify, when your company gets to raise a thundering $79 million in Series D, it’s hard to keep it quiet. That is what Quirky the tech startup has done in its three short years of life, attracting eye-popping investments now totaling £175 million.
$30 million of the latest round came from GE Ventures, with much of the rest coming from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz; RRE Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Curious product managers will be pondering on how such a young company has garnered such immense venture funding.
From idea to shelf
Founded by Ben Kaufman (now its CEO), Quirky aims to bring innovative new inventions to the marketplace via its global network of inventors, product influencers and its own expert product design team. That’s how ideas locked in people’s heads get to reach the store shelves, nurtured from the earliest stages to the last by Quirky’s community.
Any vestiges of skepticism lurking in the mind of our curious product managers will be dispelled with one look at the company’s growth. It started off by making plastic kitchen products with a development team of one, and has since expanded into far more complex tech gadgets with a product development team now numbering 75.
A product manager’s dream partnership
The process has undoubtedly been assisted by its partnership with General Electric, which began in April this year, and came to fruition last week with a batch of four new products they built jointly. Available to buy from Best Buy and Home Depot, they include a motion, light, sound, temperature and humidity sensor, a smart power strip, a smart egg tray and a real-life desktop widget – all controlled by Quirky’s very own proprietary smartphone app, Wink.
Things are now set to go from strength to strength; GE will make thousands of its patents available to Quirky. They include thin-barrier coatings for electrical devices, asset-tracking technology and holographic and fast-focusing lens technologies. The Wink app will not only control all new products, Ben Kaufman says, but will function as an open platform for others to build on top of.