Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Quirky Raises $79M, Including $30M From GE to Make Connected-Home Gadgets

Quirky has raised $79 million in Series D funding from GE as well as its venture investors Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, RRE and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Part of the deal extends a partnership that Quirky and GE struck earlier this year, with GE now putting $30 million into the funding round and committing to build 30 connected-home gadgets together in the next five years.

Quirky is a New York-based startup that designs and builds consumer products dreamed up and refined by its community of users. It tends toward exuberant hyperbole. “A partnership that will change invention forever” is its humble assessment of the relationship with GE.

Last week, Quirky and GE released the first batch of four products they built together, for sale on retail shelves at Home Depot and Best Buy: A real-life desktop widget, a smart egg tray, a smart power strip, and a motion, sound, light, temperature and humidity sensor. All are controlled through a Quirky-made smartphone app called Wink.

For the Quirky products, GE is making available thousands of its patents on things like holographic and fast-focusing lens technologies, thin-barrier coatings for electronic devices and asset-tracking technology. GE is also offering up some of its relationships with suppliers, and other support for products as they emerge and are built.

Meanwhile, Quirky intends for its Wink app to link and control whatever products come next, and also to be an open platform for others to build on top of, said Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman in a phone interview.

Kaufman had previously raised $68 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz and including Kleiner Perkins, Norwest Venture Partners and RRE Ventures about a year ago.

GE’s Beth Comstock added that the connected home was a larger focus for GE and its products, but the partnership with Quirky was a way to quickly get new products in people’s hands.

The trial run earlier this year, Comstock said, was proof for GE of “the power of the community to innovate, and the power of community in general.”

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo