PARIS – The news about Logitech’s acquisition of TT Design Labs, a two-member startup that originated on the crowd -funding Kickstarter program, is generating feel-good vibes in the design and engineering community today.
TT Design Labs was founded by Zahra Tashakorinia and Derek Tarnow, two designers who developed TidyTilt -- a little magnetic device which serves as an iPhone stand, mount and earbud-cord organizer.
While Logitech, a Switzerland-based manufacturer of traditional computer accessories such as mice and keyboards, isn’t disclosing the financial terms of the deal, the company is re-launching TT Design Labs’ TidyTilt, TidyTilt+ and Just Mount in Logitech-branded versions. It has hired the two entrepreneurs to design future Logitech products. Tarnow joins Logitech as a product designer with Tashakorinia as a consultant.
What many budding designers find promising the news is that the TidyTilt project went straight from a design-school project to a successful company acquisition without entrepreneurs having to go through the long and uncertain song-and-dance of finding a VC and establishing a business of their own.
For TT Design Labs, the acquisition took less than 18 months.
The two entrepreneurs launched the company through Kickstarter, a requirement for their school project at the Institute of Design in Chicago. They had never designed a product for sale to the public nor launched a business. Kickstarter, a private for-profit company, provided them tools to raise capital. By early 2012, the pair had more than $223,000 from would-be customers who voted with their wallets via their Kickstarter campaign for TidyTilt.
While this isn’t the first crowdfunding acquisition, it’s believed to be one of the first cases in which a leading hardware vendor acquired products born on Kickstarter.
Tarnow wrote Thursday (June 6) in his blog at Logitech
, “When Logitech approached us, we were skeptical at first — our business plan didn’t include acquisition.”
He added, “We realized that joining Logitech was an ideal situation – we get to engage the expert engineering, supply chain, distribution, and marketing minds at the company, while we get to focus more of our time on what we love most – designing great products with the user in mind.”