It’s been long suspected that Onshape would eventually land in the hands of a larger enterprise product development (or non-product development) company — that day is here. PTC has just announced the acquisition of Onshape, web-based 3D product design platform, “for approximately $470 million, net of cash acquired.”

The deal is moving fast, expecting to be completed in November 2019. PTC went all-in on IoT, since acquiring ThingWorx in 2013 and Axeda in 2014, and AR, acquiring Vuforia in 2015 and Waypoint Labs later in 2018. Now it seems they’re in a move back to 3D, acquiring generative development software company Frustum a year ago and sealing off 2019 with the Onshape acquisition, for a total near the $600M spent on all their acquisitions since Thingworx.

Onshape has over 5,000 subscribers worldwide and has secured over $150 million in various funding rounds since its founding as Belmont Technologies in 2012 and the subsequent beta launch of Onshape in 2015.

Onshape has passed along, in their own email (see below), that there is no change to their pricing plan and that regular updates will continue as usual. For PTC, the current strategy in the acquisition is that this, “will give customers the ability to choose between leading SaaS (Onshape) and on-premises (Creo and Windchill) deployment options per their preference.”

Though PTC has had PTC PLM Cloud as a SaaS offering since 2015, it’s built around PTC Windchill delivered on Microsoft Azure (as Windchill on Azure) for faster deployment of PLM capabilities. This, however, doesn’t include 3D Modeling capabilities. Hence the need, nay, desire, to have something ready-made and ready to compete against Siemens, Dassault, and Autodesk, who already have 3D modeling Cloud/SaaS apps, although arguably not pure Cloud/SaaS platform and toolset the likes of Onshape.

Stay tuned for more…

Here’s the letter from PTC CEO, Jim Heppelmann:

October 23, 2019

Dear PTC Customers and Partners,

I am excited to share with you that PTC has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Onshape, the first Software as a Service (SaaS) product development platform that unites robust computer aided design (CAD) with powerful data management and collaboration tools. The company was founded by CAD legends, including Jon Hirschtick, John McEleney, and Dave Corcoran, all inventors of and former executives at SolidWorks. Jon will assume a senior role leading the Onshape business at PTC and will report directly to me when the acquisition closes, which we expect to happen in November.

As you know, most software industries have embraced the SaaS model because it lowers cost of ownership and accelerates the introduction of new capabilities into the market. SaaS eliminates the need for costly server hardware and ensures that users are always current with the latest software with no need for administrators to implement patches or perform regular upgrades. Onhape is an amazing product – I trust you will be as impressed by its many breakthroughs as I have been.

PTC is acquiring Onshape because we have a deep commitment to providing innovative technology that drives business value and enhances your competitive position. With this strategic acquisition, PTC is doubling down on CAD and PLM. We will give customers the ability to choose between leading SaaS (Onshape) and on-premises (Creo and Windchill) deployment options per their preference.

We will be sharing more details about what our acquisition of Onshape means for you in the days and weeks to come, but I want you to take away two important messages:

  1. Creo and Windchill represent PTC’s core business. Both products are performing well, with growing market share. PTC will continue to invest in these critical products indefinitely, and you will continue to see a steady stream of new performance and functionality enhancements for many years to come.
  2. If, and when, you’re ready to adopt a SaaS platform, PTC will be there with a feature-rich, market-proven Onshape solution for your product development needs.

For more information, please refer to our press release and FAQ document [PDF].


Jim Heppelmann
President & CEO PTC

And the letter from Onshape CEO, John Hirschtick:

I am pleased to share with you that Onshape has entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by PTC. This is an exciting next step for Onshape that will help us broaden the scope of what we deliver to you, and broaden our reach in the market to bring Onshape to more users even faster.

I want to first emphasize that our top priority as we become part of PTC is to preserve and enhance what you and I love about Onshape. Our beloved Onshape team remains the same. Our product strategy and roadmap remains the same, with a continued sharp focus on our customer needs. You will still experience the same level of responsive customer support that you have come to expect from us.

As many of you know, PTC is a $1B+/year global company with a long history in the product development market, and more recently, the Augmented Reality (AR) and Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

What you may not know is that PTC shares our bold vision of a cloud/SaaS future for our industry. It’s rare to find this kind of bold vision in a company the size of PTC, and even rarer to see such a large company take such bold action to commit to that vision. This is why I’m excited to be partnering with PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann and the rest of the 6,000 PTC employees to expand the scope and speed of what we are doing with Onshape.

Here are some additional things I want you to know:

  • There is no change to Onshape’s pricing plans.
  • There is no change to your points-of-contact at Onshape.
  • You will continue to enjoy the same level of responsive customer support and partnership that you are receiving now.
  • You can expect the same frequency of updates to Onshape.
  • We have not actually been acquired yet — today’s announcement is that we have entered into an agreement to be acquired. We expect the actual acquisition to close soon.

Thank you all for all the support you have given us so far on the Onshape journey we have been on together, and I look forward to continuing together with you on this next exciting phase of our journey.


Jon Hirschtick
CEO and Cofounder, Onshape

P.S. I would imagine that many of you have more questions. For starters, please view this FAQ document or view the press release.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.