Quirky had raised $91.3 million in venture funding in its three short years of existence… Today the company adds even more cash to its coffers. The company just raised an eye-popping $79 million Series D round of financing, $30 million of which comes from GE Ventures. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz Norwest Venture Partners, RRE Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers participated…
The deal includes also includes “in-kind services” from GE, which consists of three things: The first is promotional campaigns and advertising of the products the companies build together. Second, Quirky will have access to GE’s intellectual property, its quality assurance assets and manufacturing assets. Last, GE will provide Quirky with ideas from its technical team, which make more sense to be developed through Quirky’s platform than GE’s product development process, according to GE SVP and CMO Beth Comstock.
With that much capital in the bank, Quirky has a lot of work to do. Compared with its massive pile of VC money, the company’s revenue is small: Last year Quirky did $18 million in revenue.
Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms may have disrupted Quirky’s business model and the giant partnership with GE using Quirky as a sub-brand & marketing partner could have been their best option for the future (pivot?). If you’re in the maker world, you’ve seen GE is attaching itself to the maker movement via marketing efforts (sponsorships, promotions, etc) and for “invention” – investing in Quirky is part of that. The fun thought experiments are – what does an exit look like for Quirky with this much funding? Taking over $100m in funding means a sale of $1b or more, going public or going bust. Who is the buyer, will it be GE in the end? Will be a merger? Does Quirky + GE have the engineering talent to compete in the “Internet of Things” area against companies like Nest (and everyone else jumping on IoT)?