Quirky became a startup darling for its community invention model. Where did it all go wrong?


That was the foundation of invention platform Quirky. The 2009 startup came from the mind of 22-year-old founder Ben and boasted a communal creation process for inventors.

If selected, Quirky sold the product - sometimes resulting in significant revenue for the inventors, Quirky community, and the business.

The platform boomed as the global recession pushed entrepreneurs to find alternative routes to fund their creations and find income.

Over seven rounds of fundraising, the startup brought in over $175 million from 11 investors, including General Electric.

But by 2015, Quirky had produced too many costly low-selling products and found it hard to secure additional funds.

That year, 111 employees were laid off and Kaufman stepped down as CEO. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy later in the year. In 2016, Quirky was acquired by Q Holdings, LLC - keeping the platform alive.

While Kaufman and Quirky’s aspirations were noble, one must remember that even a community must operate like a business if it wants to thrive.

Share with friends

Related tags
Published on
11 May 2017