Before Kickstarter emerged as the leading hub of crowdfunded devices, there was Quirky, a company devoted to reinventing invention. Founded by Ben Kaufman, who had previously founded the Mophie accessories company best known for its iPhone snap-on batteries.
Quirky has a model that is in some ways the opposite of Kickstarter’s or Indiegogo’s. Rather than have the crowd fund a product and have inventors create it, Quicky’s model was that the crowd would suggest products and then Quirky would create it. The company’s New York offices were a hub of professionals specializing in all aspects of product creation including marketing, legal, sourcing, branding and industrial and mechanical design. Inventors would get a perpetual royalty on designs that became products, and people who suggested product names and other attributes would also receive a small percentage. Quirky staff voted on which products moved forward in a weekly meeting. It scored what became perhaps it’s biggest win relatively early with the snaking Pivot Power power strip that spawned several spinoffs.