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Crowdsourcing Internet company Quirky files for Chapter 11 protection

Today, successful businesses know that they must continue to innovate and be proactive when it comes to utilizing social media and other technology and Internet-based platforms. It's not enough, however, to simply throw up a Facebook page and ask followers to like your products and ideas. True innovation takes thoughtful planning and being willing to take a risk.

An example of a company that chose to fully embrace both of these concepts and fully embrace the opportunities the Internet provides to connect and stay connected with others is the New York City-based start-up Quirky.

The 2009 start-up company raised $185 million from many high-profile investors including General Electric and relied upon a "crowd-based model of innovation and product development." Quirky aims to appeal to anyone and everyone in the Internet-sphere who has a brilliant idea for a new product. Products deemed worthy of the company's time and investment were developed, manufactured, marketed and sold on the Quirky's website and also at major retailers.

Currently, the company's website boasts more than 1.1 million members and has brought "more than 400 Quirky-generated products to market." However the sheer scope of the company's business model in dealing with investors and inventors as well as designing, manufacturing and distributing products "proved daunting and too costly."

Last week, Quirky filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A notice on the company's website alerts inventor members of the company's bankruptcy filing and states that "we hope to find a new home for the Quirky community where innovation can continue to be made accessible."

For now, the future of Quirky and whether the company will indeed find new investors willing to continue its operations remains unclear. What is clear is that, by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company is afforded time to formulate a game plan for how to restructure and reduce its debts, thereby making it a much more attractive and potentially lucrative investment.

Source: The New York Times, "Quirky, an Invention Start-Up, Files for Bankruptcy," Steve Lohr, Sept. 22, 2015

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