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What you need to know for 08/19/2017

Quirky files for bankruptcy, may sell Wink for $15M

Quirky files for bankruptcy, may sell Wink for $15M

Quirky has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and is looking to sell Wink for $15 million, the company
Quirky files for bankruptcy, may sell Wink for $15M
The Quirky offices are seen at Center City in downtown Schenectady on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. The company, headquartered in New York City, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

Quirky filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and is looking to sell Wink for $15 million, the company announced Tuesday.

New York City-based Quirky has taken action to sell all of its assets, according to a blog Quirky posted on its website Tuesday.

Schenectady officials say the local office will not be affected.

“After carefully examining the various alternatives available, the company concluded that Chapter 11 provides the most effective and efficient process to facilitate sales of substantially all of its assets and provide potential suitors with certain advantages only available in Chapter 11, which will enhance the value of the company’s assets,” Quirky said in the blog.

The company’s business Wink has entered into an agreement with Singapore-based Flextronics International, known as Flex, for the sale of the connected-home platform for $15 million.

The sale will be subject to higher or better offers, Quirky said. The company plans to conduct an auction, if other bids are received, and seek court approval to have the sale close within about 60 days.

“The bankruptcy filing does not impact the Wink experience for users nor how Wink operates day-to-day,” Quirky states in the blog. “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.”

Quirky has an office in downtown Schenectady at Galesi Group’s Center City building on State Street. Wink spokesman Patrick Mahoney said in an email “the Schenectady team is not impacted by this process.”

Wink is an application that people can download on their smartphone or tablet to control their home’s lighting, power and security.

David Buicko, COO of Galesi, said he is confident Wink will remain in the city. He said he has not received any indication that the company would move at this time.

“The assets are their people and their operations here,” Buicko said. “The Wink operations are all here.”

Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said Wink is a growing company and the bankruptcy filing and sale will not impact their operations in Schenectady.

“Flextronics is a $26 billion powerhouse and a leader in smart-connected devices,” Gillen said. “Wink is a leader in the smart home technology sector and this acquisition will set the stage for building even more intelligent products for a connected world.”

Flextronics is an international supply chain solutions company that provides design, distribution and manufacturing services.

In June, former Quirky Chief Technology Officer Steven Heintz left the company for Flextronics’ California office, according to a report by Business Insider.

In July, former Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman said Quirky was out of money while onstage at a tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. He later said he had $12 million in cash and plans to save both Quirky and Wink through a new round of financing.

Last month, Quirky announced in a blog post that Kaufman was out as CEO. Former CFO Ed Kremer now heads the company.

Also last month, Quirky said it would lay off 109 employees from its corporate headquarters to focus time and resources on its spinoff Wink. Both the Hong Kong and San Francisco offices have closed.

The Schenectady team was downsized from a high of 150 employees earlier this year to a core team of 72, a Wink spokesman told The Daily Gazette last month.

Quirky pledged to create 180 jobs in the Electric City when it opened here in May of 2014. Gillen said Metroplex’s most recent report lists the company with a total of 85 employees.

Metroplex agreed to give Quirky $300,000 toward the renovation and construction costs associated with building out the vacant space in Center City.

Gillen said Metroplex does not have plans to recoup that money at this time.

“The company has met or exceeded its investment and job goals,” he said. “Right now there is no reason to talk about that. We look forward to talking to the new owners.”

The company says it is still working with interested parties to sell certain assets related to Quirky and the Quirky name.

According to the blog, “While the company was previously forced to temporarily suspend Quirky product evaluation and development projects, it is hopeful that the ultimate successful purchaser will restart those operations and reestablish a meaningful and productive relationship with community members.”

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