Quirky, the New York-based developer of crowdsourced inventions and parent company of the Wink smart home platform is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure its debts, per a corporate update released today.
The news comes seven weeks after the departure of Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman, who stepped down from his role at the head of the company at the start of August. Kaufman's exit followed a tumultuous year that included financial difficulties, key product flops, and a botched security update for the Wink Hub, the control device at the center of Wink's smart home platform. Kaufman was replaced with Quirky Chief Financial Officer Ed Kremer.
Originally launched in 2009, Quirky made a name for itself by developing product ideas from an open pool of independent and amateur inventors, rewarding the community with profit shares. Early successes like a flexible power strip along with a collaboration with GE helped pave the way for its play at the smart home, with devices ranging from web-connected air conditioners to app-enabled piggy banks and smart egg trays , all of them controlled by the Wink app. Despite lacking a true smart home hit, Quirky pushed forward with Wink, building it into a platform with its own proprietary hardware capable of controlling third-party connected home devices.
According to the filing, the brand has agreed to sell Wink to the highest bidder. As of now, the bid is $15 million, and the potential buyer is Flextronics International, USA, a supply chain solutions company with US offices based in San Jose. Other parties have time to make a better offer; Quirky hopes that a sale will be final within sixty days.
"This does not impact the Wink experience for our users nor how Wink operates day-to-day," Quirky said in its written statement about the filing. "Our engineers and designers will continue to enhance our platform to provide new, meaningful ways for you to interact with your smart home. The Wink HUB and Wink Relay will continue to be available at The Home Depot and Amazon. Our customer support team will continue to provide the same quality assistance we pride ourselves on. Wink will continue to be Wink."