Quirky, a New York startup that helps design, develop, and manufacturer new products submitted by a community of inventors, has hired the former head of global design firm Frog, Doreen Lorenzo, as its first president. Lorenzo will work with founder and CEO Ben Kaufman to expand Quirky's international design and manufacturing capabilities. "Doreen is a legend in the business," says Kaufman. "She took Frog from a few dozen employees to 1,200 people in offices around the world. We're hoping she'll do the same for the Quirky invention machine."
The company has raised significant capital, $91 million over five rounds, and made headway among big retailers, with over 200 of its products finding their way onto the shelves of Target, Staples, OfficeMax, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Recently it partnered with GE and began working to produce more complex items. "We started out doing simple plastic accessories for the office and kitchen," says Kaufman. "Now we're moving into the world of smart, connected devices with sensors. Doreen can help us evolve into this more challenging mode."
Quirky won't disclose sales figures, but it will share a few numbers that hint at its growth. As of its last funding round, in September of 2012, the company has doled out just $600,000 to its community of inventors. This year it expects to pay between $4-5 million to its inventors.