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Quirky Charts New Licensing Course

Invention startup Quirky is reemerging with plans for linking inventors with brands while licensing its own name for finished products.

The Internet company, which at its peak had 1.2 million members, tumbled into bankruptcy in fall 2015, after burning through $185 million in funding. But with fresh financing from new owner Q Holdings, which purchased the company out of bankruptcy in late 2015 for $4.7 million, Quirky is returning with a new strategy that drops the manufacturing services that most say was responsible in large part for its downfall.

Instead Quirky will match inventors with suppliers across 12-15 categories from home goods to automotive and toys, while licensing its brand for the finished products, says President Gina Waldhorn, who joined the company in March.

Outside companies will handle production of products; part of the relationship will involve licensing the Quirky trademark. Some products could simply be branded with the Quirky name. Others would carry the manufacturer’s brand, but also carry a licensed “Powered by Quirky” notation on the packaging.

“This way we will still have our thumb print on the product, but it is structured differently than before and makes sense,” says Waldhorn.

Inventors submit proposed products through the Quirky website and the company matches them with potential partners, an evaluation process that takes 30 days, says Waldhorn. Quirky is in the process of signing partners, but will initially focus on those supplying electronics (power cords and strips, chargers) and home goods (bakeware, cookware, kitchen gadgets), says Waldhorn.

The Quirky site is being redesigned with a relaunch set for late summer. One new feature will give users the option to submit ideas as well as completed inventions. The ideas that result in finished products also will be eligible for royalty payments.

Quirky will administer and split royalties from product sales with the inventors and so-called “influencers,” those who contribute ideas and designs to the finished device through the company’s community-based program in which product plans are posted for input. The product packaging will continue to bear the inventors’ names and also list the number of influencers who contributed to the device.

Waldhorn declined to disclose how many of the peak 1.2 million members/inventors remain with the service. But Quirky was able to retain many of them by giving inventors a “make-good” payment last year, representing royalties for products sold since Q Holdings took ownership of the company in early 2016. From its founding 2009 to bankruptcy, Quirky generated $100 million in revenue and paid $11 million in royalties, says Waldhorn.

Quirky branded products are continuing to be sold through the company’s ecommerce store as well as Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon.


Quirky, Gina Waldhorn, Pres., 850-212-8728,

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