NEW YORK, November 13, 2013 – GE (NYSE: GE) and Quirky today announced they will expand their partnership, co-developing and launching 30 new products in their connected home devices line over the next five years. Together the partners will also accelerate and expand Quirky’s WINK platform, the app that makes it easy for consumers to access a range of connected devices anytime from mobile devices. The co-branded WINK-enabled products will continue to be developed by Quirky’s global community of over 600,000 inventors through the company’s collaborative platform. This expands the existing partnership, announced in April, which released four new holiday products to major retailers nationwide on November 4.
As part of the expanded partnership, GE will take a minority equity stake in Quirky with a strategic investment of $30 million, plus in-kind services, to drive faster innovation and scale in what will be a $25B connected devices market. GE will help to promote the products, support the WINK platform and develop several premium countertop appliances. The $79MM Series D financing round also includes current Quirky investors Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, RRE and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Ben Kaufman, Founder and CEO of Quirky said, “I have long admired GE’s 130-year commitment to commercializing invention, which fits with Quirky’s mission to make invention accessible to all. In just six months, our two companies have created a $45 million connected consumer business that we will continue to build on. Our vision is to make the WINK platform the consumer standard adopted by all manufacturers of connected home products. The opportunity to lead is now and together we want to empower the entire ecosystem, from the inventor to consumer and manufacturer to retailer.”
Beth Comstock, SVP and chief marketing officer, GE, said, “Invention and manufacturing are GE’s lifeblood. We’ve been impressed by how Quirky opens and speeds invention and making, and we are excited by the response from major retailers and communities so far. As GE grows its core by connecting its brilliant industrial machines to the Internet, we think it is important that consumers experience connected things in easy-to-use, everyday ways. The Quirky partnership allows us to re-invent our co-branded consumer products in delightful ways by opening up our brand to more ideas and new audiences.”
The WINK Platform
The new WINK platform is designed to be the software technology standard that defines and enables Internet connectivity for consumer devices. WINK-enabled products are controlled through a single app, on both android and iOS devices, to give users a fast, simple, and reliable way to sync and access their product. The Home Depot is the first major retailer to agree to sell all connected home products built on the platform in almost 2000 stores nationwide. The WINK platform will also be open to all manufacturers of connected devices.
GE & Quirky Partnership to Date
Since April, the partnership has fueled invention in the growing connected devices category and created a way to bring app-enabled products to market faster. GE and Quirky invited their shared communities to help invent and develop a full line of connected devices for the home in areas such as home monitoring, home health, security and appliances and lighting using advanced manufacturing tools and technologies. The first four WINK-enabled products – Nimbus, Egg Minder, Pivot Power Genius and Spotter -- are now on sale at all The Home Depot and Best Buy stores nationwide and on quirky.com.
More information can be found at GE Reports and Quirky.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and helping to cure the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
Quirky makes invention accessible. Launched in 2009, the company brings new consumer products to life each week by enabling collaboration between a global community of inventors and an in-house team of designers and engineers on all aspects of design, from sketch to store shelves. Anyone can participate by submitting product ideas or voting and influencing other people's product ideas on Quirky.com in real time. The company then shares revenue directly with the people who created and influenced the products. Quirky products are available directly from Quirky.com and through national retail partnerships with The Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Amazon.com.