Social product design startup Quirky raises $68M

Quirky, a New York-based startup that crowdsources the creation of products, announced on Thursday that it has raised $68 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz and included new investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and RRE Ventures. The latest round brings the company’s total funding to $97 million.

As part of the latest round, Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker and Andreessen Horowitz’ Scott Weiss joined the company’s board.

The company, which was launched in 2009 by Ben Kaufman (who also launched the Mophie brand of iPhone and iPod products), enables an online community of people to work with Quirky’s in-house engineers and designers to bring to market two consumer products each week. The company’s worldwide community, which includes more than 260,000 members, can participate by contributing their own idea or by voting for the ideas of others. Thirty percent of sales generated from Quirky products goes to the community.

To date, the company said it has launched more than 200 products and expects to earn more than $20 million in revenue this year.

Given the trend toward startups that encourage collaboration and crowdsourcing, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, increased investor interest in Quirky makes sense. But Quirky was one of the early companies to harness the power of a community and has honed its process over the years.

The company said the new funding will help it ramp up production across more verticals, refine its community contribution process and build its product development and community engagement teams. The company already partners with retailers like Target, Staples, OfficeMax and Bed, Bath & Beyond and said it also plans to involve community members at the retail level through a new distribution program.