Quirky Acquires, Destroys Design/Strategy Firm Undercurrent

By Patrick Coffee 

How is crowdsourced invention startup Quirky doing?

Not so well, apparently. In June, the company went through a series of layoffs after announcing that it would shift from producing people’s cool product ideas itself to partnering with companies like General Electric.

According to various reports, Quirky first decided upon this shift when introduced to G.E. by New York design/strategy firm Undercurrent, which it then acquired back in April. Last Friday, Quirky abruptly shut Undercurrent down and fired all of its employees.


Here’s the related tweetstorm from founder/partner/chairman Josh Spear, who isn’t too happy with Quirky at the moment:

The reason we post on this one is that it represents the very worst case scenario for small or mid-sized operations (like digital agencies) acquired by larger businesses (like holding companies).

We would point out a couple of recent examples in the ad world, but you get it.

The lesson here seems to be: stay indie if you possibly can.