Talking tech since 2003

We’re here at MakerBot Industries HQ in Brooklyn, New York for a press event.  Yesterday, Stratasys announced it would be acquiring MakerBot in an all stock deal worth $403 million.  On stage, Bre Pettis, founder and CEO of MakerBot, started off talking about the beginnings of MakerBot.  The first generation of the MakerBot was a DIY kit called the Cupcake since you could make things the size of a cupcake.  Since that time, MakerBot has continued to grow and develop new machines allowing customers to make bigger and more awesome things.  There was even a point in time when MakerBot apparently had bought all of the motors in the world, and had to figure out how to get more motors made so they could make more 3D printers.

MakerBot’s continued growth over the years since its launch in 2009 has been impressive, as a testament to that growth, the original MakerBot offices were 4,700 sqft, and the new MakerBot factory is 55,000 sqft.  And that doesn’t even include the new MakerBot HQ, which I’m sitting in right now and is big and beautiful.  That’s quite the expansion.

Today, MakerBot is merging with Stratasys and becoming a public company.  The first thing Mr. Pettis noted was that MakerBot is remaining an independent company, “We’re fearless,” he said, “This merger will allow us to supercharge our mission.”

MakerBot’s merger will give them access to many more resources and additional talent, allowing them to bring the MakerBot technology to more people around the world.  “We wouldn’t have done it if this wouldn’t be a total win for everyone at MakerBot and New York City,” he said.  And with over 500 patents and over 25 years of research, Stratasys will clearly have a huge impact on accelerating MakerBot’s growth.

Another important note is that Thingiverse and other parts of the MakerBot ecosystem will not change according to Mr. Pettis.

“I’m so excited to be cool,” said David Reis, CEO of Stratasys.  He went on to answer the question, “Why didn’t Stratasys just build its own MakerBot printer?”  The answer? “We’re merging with a brand that is the strongest in the industry,” he said.  Which is a good point.  MakerBot has not only made 3D printing cool, it also has an enormously positive brand image.

One of the goals for MakerBot and Stratasys is to make the product more affordable for the average consumer.  Right now, the latest MakerBot product, the Replicator 2X is still over $2,000, which as Mr. Pettis admits is more pro-sumer, than average consumer.  That being said, neither Mr. Pettis or Mr. Reis would commit to providing any particular numbers on a lower price point.  It will be interesting to see how the price of MakerBot products change now with the merger.

It won’t be long until people are using 3D printers and scanners for all sorts of cool and useful things.

Stratasys is expected to bring in over $400 million in revenue this year.


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