Quirky, the startup behind the coolest gadgets we never knew we needed, is bankrupt

Wine down.
Wine down.
Image: AP/Kathy Willens
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Quirky, a startup that helps makers develop their ideas, announced Tuesday that it has filed for bankruptcy and is selling its Wink smart-home system.

The platform, where inventors submit ideas and collaborate on projects, made notable gadgets including the Aros smart air conditioner, and the app-enabled Nimbus alarm clocks. There were also practical tools like a flexible surge protector for small spaces, and an all-in-one snow shovel and ice-scraper set.

Some of Quirky’s best-sellers were also among its simplest, like Cordies, which organized unruly wires and a four-in-one wine opener. Other hits were items we never knew we needed, such as Pawcet, the water fountain for dogs. In its heyday, the New York-based startup fielded 2,000 ideas per day.

But a number of Quirky’s picks never saw the light of day before the company ran out of money. After struggling to find fresh funds, founder and CEO Ben Kaufman stepped down in August.

Wink emerged as Quirky’s most viable product and was the focus of those fundraising efforts. It’s a smart-home hub that connects to devices from a variety of brands including Nest, General Electric, and Phillips, and is sold by retailers including Amazon and the Home Depot.

With the bankruptcy, Wink will find a new home. Quirky entered into an agreement to sell it for $15 million to Flextronics International. However, it could go to another bidder if a higher or better offer is made.

Quirky’s site features hundreds of projects that are listed as “in development,” including a device that makes your bed and a bluetooth-enabled jump rope, which was submitted to the site three years ago.

Earlier this year, Quirky scrapped development on its own products in order to focus on partnerships with companies like Mattel, Poppy, and GE.