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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Stratasys acquires GrabCAD

September 25th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Stratasys, provider of 3D printing solutions, recently announced the acquisition of GrabCAD, a company that provides accessibility and a collaboration platform for designers and engineers.

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GrabCAD will maintain its offices and staff and will operate as a unit within the Stratasys Global Products and Technology Group. The acquisition of GrabCAD is expected to allow Stratasys to provide its customers with enhanced collaboration tools and improved accessibility relating to 3D CAD content. According to company materials, GrabCAD’s cloud-based collaboration platform and community site is CAD software agnostic, and empowers designers and engineers to manage, share, and view CAD files.

Stratasys acquired GrabCAD in an all cash transaction. The acquisition is not expected to contribute to revenue in 2014. Costs associated with the acquisition are expected to impact Stratasys’ fourth quarter 2014 earnings by $0.03 to $0.05 per share, according to a recent press announcement.

Other reports suggest that GrabCAD was quite sought after by other companies who wanted to acquire it.

Last year Stratasys acquired MakerBot and acquired Solid Concepts and Interfacial Solutions earlier this year. These acquisitions were all along the 3D printing lines of Stratasys’ business, while the GrabCAD acquisition brings in a cloud-based collaboration platform in the form of Workbench – a location for a CAD workgroup to share, manage and view CAD files, in essence a file sharing service.  GrabCAD also comes with a very large and active social networking community that will benefit Stratasys’ services.

In an interview last week with acting CEO Jenny Lawton of MakerBot, she explained the relationship that GrabCAD will bring to Stratasys.

“GrabCAD is not CAD software, but it brings accessibility to people who use CAD software and allows them to share files, designs ideas and collaborate,” said Lawton. “It doesn’t replace CAD –rather, it is a tool in between CAD and what you do with it. For those who use CAD software, GrabCAD gives our users better accessibility so they’re able to collaborate and share and do more with their files than they could before. It’s a very good tool for someone who has no PLM system. An engineering company or a company that’s using CAD can use GrabCAD for their users to have accessibility to their files to share and collaborate. It’s CAD-agnostic and allows files to be portable and accessible because it’s a cloud-based solution.”

For GrabCAD the acquisition is a win-win because they can continue to provide accessibility to designers and CAD users and bring their platform to a larger audience. They can continue to develop and grow without worrying about where the next funding is going to come from.

GrabCAD users aren’t all 3D printer users, but if you are going to do 3D printing, you often use a CAD tool. The benefit here is that Stratasys customers will have better accessibility to Stratasys hardware and an ability to collaborate and design faster and smarter – with access to a broader user community.

Like MakerBot, GrabCAD grew up as a community-based software, and so it has a very large community. “The advantage of having a large community is you get a lot of good feedback find out what community needs and wants,” said Lawton. “I think they’ll continue to have a broad platform and they’ll have to keep growing. Their solutions give the best ecosystem to Stratasys.”

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Categories: 3D printing, AEC, architecture, Cloud, collaboration, file sharing, project management

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