Quirky — the company that helped bring everyday inventors’ ideas and designs into reality — announced on its blog today that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is also accepting a $15 million bid for Wink, makers of the home automation hub, from Flextronics, which originally manufactured the device.
It has been a difficult year for the company. First, it made some changes to its community-developed ideas, then announced it would stop manufacturing devices entirely. At the time, Quirky planned to let partners such as GE and Mattel handle the manufacturing of new devices.
Though it raised more than $170 million from firms like GE and Norwest Venture Partners, Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman told Fortune in July the company only had $12 million left. Quirky started looking for a buyer or outside investor for Wink back in February. “There’s a point where it doesn’t make sense for one unprofitable startup to keep funding another unprofitable startup,” Kaufman told Fortune in June. But widespread Wink Hub malfunctions in April of this year may have made potential buyers gun-shy.
For those who invested in the hub, Quirky promises the device will still work (intermittent outages notwithstanding): “The bankruptcy filing does not impact the Wink experience for users nor how Wink operates day-to-day. Wink’s engineers and designers will continue to enhance the Wink platform to provide new, meaningful ways for customers to interact with their smart home. The Wink Hub and Wink Relay will continue to be available at The Home Depot and Amazon. Wink’s customer support team will continue to provide the same quality assistance,” according to the company’s blog.
Although Quirky has accepted the Flextronics bid (the only one interested so far), it’s possible other bidders may appear during bankruptcy proceedings, according to Fortune, potentially raising the price for Wink.