Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of the New York City startup Quirky, is stepping down, the company announced Friday evening.
Instead, Kaufman will be focusing all his time and energy on Wink, Quirky’s Internet of Things subsidiary.
“In light of our ongoing strategy to focus our efforts and resources on Wink, our founder, Ben Kaufman, will no longer serve as the CEO of Quirky,” the announcement reads.
The news comes not long after Business Insider reported upcoming layoffs that the company attributed to cost cutting to support the growth of Wink.
“In an attempt to preserve our employees’ jobs and the future of the Company, we along with our investors have been actively pursuing several opportunities to raise the capital needed to maintain our business and avoid having to make staff reductions,” Kaufman wrote at the time. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to obtain sufficient funding to enable us to continue to operate our business at the current levels of staffing.”
The company’s fundraising has been complicated, in part because Quirky has two businesses: Its invention platform and the smart-home platform Wink. Because of the lack of synergy between the two businesses — both of which are unprofitable — Quirky tried to sell Wink earlier this year. Those efforts ended after the company had to do an expensive nationwide recall of its Wink products because of a “completely preventable” security error.
Earlier this month, Kaufman told Fortune’s Stacey Higginbotham that Quirky had $US12 million left in the bank and planned to either raise “no less than $US15 million” for Wink, raise enough money for Quirky to support both businesses, sell Wink, or sell both Wink and Quirky.
“Ben has always been, and continues to be, deeply committed to the spirit and values of Quirky’s community of creative people around the world, as well as its inventors and its partners,” Kaufman’s resignation announcement reads. “Ben continues to believe in Quirky’s core mission to make invention accessible and believes that mission will live on. Effective immediately, current Chief Financial Officer Ed Kremer will be the CEO.”
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