One year ago Wink, the IoT spin-off of GE-backed Quirky, was struggling in sales despite its launch in Home Depot, Staples and Lowe's stores across the country. Maybe new ownership will help. The smart-home platform has been acquired by musician and tech entreprenuer will.i.am — yes, that will.i.am, of the Black Eyed Peas.
The Wink Hub ($69) supports not only Quirky’s own IoT products, but also third-party devices (via an open platform) that employ Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart (BLE), Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee and Lutron’s Caseta wireless protocol.
But it didn't fare too well in the market, probably because companies are still not exactly sure how to sell smart-home hubs.
About a year ago, Wink was purchased by Flex, which had already been manufacturing Wink's hardware.
Now Wink has been sold again to i.am+, will.i.am's tech company. Flex disclosed the sale of Wink in its quarterly report published yesterday, without specifying the buyer. It noted that the buyer paid $38.7 million upfront for Wink, plus a $20 million commitment towards future manufacturing, reports TechCrunch.
In a statement, Wink said both the app and the Wink Hub will continue to operate as usual.
Today marks an exciting new chapter for Wink and we wanted you to be the first to hear about it.
Wink has been acquired by lifestyle technology company i.am+.
If you’re not familiar, i.am+ was founded by innovator and music artist will.i.am and has already shaken up the wearables industry with BUTTONS – premium wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Our teams are in the process of coming together to shape our future roadmap and we can’t wait to share what we’re working on.
In the meantime, please know that your Wink app and Wink Hub will continue to operate just as they have. The acquisition doesn’t change anything with regards to the Wink user experience.
We know you depend on Wink to stay connected to your home and are as committed as ever to delivering the best-in-class smart home experience you expect.
We’ll be introducing a number of new in-app features and partner integrations in the coming months. Keep an eye out on our blog for more information (and for updates throughout this transition). If you have any questions, give us a call at 844-WINK-APP.
The Wink Team
Wink's new owner, will.i.am, has gone from Black Eyed Peas rapper to tech entreprenuer, but not any more successfully as, say, Wink has become a top smart-home hub. He previously launched an expensive iPhone case, turned a high-end luxury car into a camera, and released two smartphone watches, reports The Verge.
This is will.i.am's first foray into the smart home. Maybe he can create some buzz around Wink that could help the brand. Let's just hope we won't have to start calling it w.in.k.