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.”
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