GE Expands Partnership with Community Inventor Quirky

GE is getting quirkier. On Wednesday, the technology and media giant announced that it is expanding its partnership with New York City-based startup Quirky to co-develop and launch 30 new connected, app-enabled home products over the next five years.

Launched in 2009, Quirky accepts product ideas from the public, utilizing a global community of over 600,000 inventors, and lets the public vote on other peopleEUs ideas. An in-house design and engineering team works on turning the ideas into products, and then revenue is shared with the idea creator. Products developed through Quirky are available through Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Amazon.

Quirky also has a platform, WINK, which utilizes a mobile app so that consumers can communicate with connected devices. The new GE/Quirky partnership will co-brand connected home products, expanding on a previously existing partnership that released four new products earlier this month.

Minority Equity Stake

In addition, GE is taking a minority equity stake in Quirky for $30 million plus in-kind services, as part of a Series D financing round that also includes investors Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The connected devices field, which is projected to become a $25 billion market, is a key driver here for GE, which will not only support the WINK platform but will develop some premium countertop appliances based on Quirky ideas.

Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman said in a statement that, in six months of working together, the two companies EUhave created a $45 million connected consumer business.EU The ultimate vision, Kaufman said, is EUto make the WINK platform the consumer standard adopted by all manufacturers of connected home products.EU

WINK-enabled products can be controlled by the Android or iOS app, and both companies said the platform will be open to any manufacturer of connected devices....

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