We’ve been known to like GrabCAD a whole lot here on SolidSmack. While the list of reasons ‘why’ is quite long, we can sum it up by saying that similar to our friend Al Dean over at Develop3D, we have been believers in the company from day one and have enjoyed watching it grow up to be a ‘big kid‘ in a landscape dotted with Fortune 500 companies and millions of users in an ever-expanding (and unpredictable) community.

GrabCAD took that ‘big kid‘ status to a new level this morning when it was announced that they had been acquired by 3D printing giant Stratasys for a reported $100 million. This comes relatively soon after Stratasys acquired MakerBot last year for $403 million and Solid Concepts earlier this year for $295 million.

“The addition of GrabCAD provides Stratasys with a leading cloud-based collaboration platform for engineering teams to manage, share and view CAD files,” said David Reis, Stratasys Chief Executive Officer in the company’s press release.

“By increasing the collaboration and accessibility of 3D CAD files, we believe we can further accelerate the adoption of 3D printing solutions and Stratasys’ product offerings. Together with GrabCAD, we believe that we will accelerate innovation and provide increased value to a growing universe of customers seeking to utilize 3D printing solutions. We also welcome GrabCAD’s active and important community to the Stratasys family. The potential within our 3D ecosystem is very exciting.”

GrabCAD co-founder and CEO Hardi Meybaum added:

“By joining forces with Stratasys……we believe we can extend the reach of one of the most exciting and innovative design collaboration technologies available. With its broad and growing customer base and worldwide presence, Stratasys can provide more customers around the world with exciting new solutions to meet their design needs.”

While Hardi Meybaum is expected to maintain his current position at the helm of GrabCAD, the acquisition raises some interesting questions about where things could be going next for Stratasys. For one, Bre Pettis was still leading MakerBot as CEO after the acquisition last year, but has recently stepped down to take on a new role as the leader of an ‘Innovation Workshop’ that is currently being assembled at Stratasys.

Our guess is that that the ‘workshop’ is more or less a hyper-focused incubator for 3D printing, CAD and community-related innovations…like MakerBot, Solid Concepts and GrabCAD. Sportswear giant Nike has had an innovation incubator for years made up of a rotating cast of forward-thinkers in the form of their ‘Innovation Kitchen’ and it is considered to be the heartbeat that pushes new technologies across all branches of the company.

It would make a whole lot of sense…particularly during an industrial revolution…to assemble a team of leaders who have started their own product design-related companies to lead innovations in other untapped parts of the market. Surely, Hardi wouldn’t join this new team with Bre immediately, but once the GrabCAD engine is able to run on a sort of ‘cruise control’, there’s a possibility that Stratasys has bigger plans for him moving forward.

Regardless of what the future holds, what Stratasys gained today with the GrabCAD purchase is something highly-coveted by a lot of companies right now…something that GrabCAD has been able to pull together remarkably: a solid and knowledgable community; and a foundation for deeper collaboration abilities.

The official press release further states:

Through its acquisition of GrabCAD, Stratasys expects to gain:

Knowledge: With the addition of GrabCAD, Stratasys gains an industry leading team of software professionals with a deep understanding of the needs of designers and engineers.

Products: GrabCAD’s cloud-based collaboration platform, Workbench, will enable Stratasys to offer customers a solution to drive communication and ease of use throughout the design and 3D printing process. GrabCAD also provides Stratasys with the opportunity to further partner with CAD vendors and other ecosystem partners while offering innovative collaboration tools related to 3D CAD.

Community: GrabCAD has built a global, leading and fast growing community of mechanical engineers and designers, with 1.5 million users who are passionate about design. This includes a large online community of M-CAD users and a significant public online repository of free CAD files, with more than 500,000 CAD designs available for download and nearly 50,000 file downloads per day.

We’re still yet to hear back from Hardi and GrabCAD, but we’ll keep you posted as news rolls in. In the meantime, here’s a recent interview with Hardi where he discusses some of the most recent developments with GrabCAD this past spring:

Maker Galaxy E23: Live at GrabCAD HQ with CEO Hardi Meybaum


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.