Bozzone also said Quirky inventors are given a higher percentage of the profits than they would typically get if they licensed their rights to an existing manufacturer.
Kaufman said independent inventors might get a 3 or 4 percent royalty in a licensing agreement with a manufacturer, but Tyler, for example, gets a 12 percent royalty. In total, the company shares 30 percent of top line revenue generated by a product with the Quirky members who influenced its development.
"I'm all for protecting your intellectual property," he said. "But one of the problems with the world right now is this inherent perception [that] if I have an idea I need a patent. Sometimes you don't, sometimes it's not even patentable."
Getting a product in the market is the first step, Kaufman said. And for $99 his site either makes that possible or lets you know how potential customers might receive your idea.
"In a world of 6.7 billion people, how many people get to participate in the development of new products? … We're opening the flood gates and letting everyone feel what it feels like to develop your own product," he said. "At the very least, before you stake your whole life and career on it, you have a quick litmus test."