Onshape has had a bang-up year. After launching in March, upending CAD pricing, and locking down additional $80M funding (for a total of $144M), there were only two things left to do in the year: break out of beta and launch a freakin’ app store.

Onshape Goes Commercial

Starting this week, anyone can go sign up for a free Onshape account. Free accounts provide unlimited public Documents, limited to 10 private Documents and 5GB storage. Professional accounts offer unlimited public/private Documents and storage for $100/user/month ($1200/user/year). Over the past year, Onshape has continuously released updates, delivering a pack of new features and improvements every 3-4 weeks–a rate they plan to continue and improve upon.


Onshape Beta results:

  • 400,000 hours of user usage
  • Over 10,000 users
  • Over 150 countries
  • 4,000,000 features created
  • 390,000 CAD files imported/exported
  • 325,000 STL Files created
  • 14 major product updates, over 125 features

14 major updates with 125 features is no small feat, but with all users using the latest features as soon as they’re pushed out, it speaks to the process they have for delivering so many features and addressing feedback so quickly. Critical to their beta success was seeing how the software was used, a plan for content delivery and regular communication with users through beta forums and the integrated feedback tool–Any user can submit an enhancement request or bug report directly from inside Onshape with attached screenshot markup. All of this, combined with a solid, multi-tenant infrastructure, an engineering/ux staff that is more than 50% of the Onshape team and all the signs of a passionate user-base shows how aggressively Onshape is moving.

Interesting stats:

  • 99.9% uptime; virtually zero crashes/data loss
  • 54% have used Onshape mobile
  • 2x as likely to use phone, but use Onshape 2x longer on tablet
  • 1 in 6 sessions occur on mobile

Onshape’s 99.9% uptime isn’t surprising. The platform is distributed on secure servers around the world–If one goes down, another is already there. The mobile usage is interesting though, with a CAD platform optimized for mobile usage, a thought is that these stats should be higher. No doubt this will increase as people get use to the idea of performing CAD tasks over mobile and touch-enabled software/tablet devices become easier to use. In fact, according to Onshape Founder and Board Chairman, Jon Hirschtick, people are already getting use to the idea. “They are not using it just for viewing. We have users sitting on subways and planes, editing parts and releasing them, doing serious CAD works. That confirms our vision.” Additionally, he relayed in a comment concerning the iPad Pro, “We run great on iPad Pro, and we are building a number of cool features that are iPad Pro-specific.”

Onshape App Store

Just as big as the news of Onshape coming out of beta, if not bigger, is the introduction of the Onshape App Store. App stores get a bad rap, from the closed-off Apple ecosystem to other CAD software companies attempting something similar. The difference with the Onshape App Store, as with the Onshape platform, is how they’re approaching it.


The Onshape App store has three type of apps–Integrated Cloud, Connected Cloud, and Connected Desktop apps–with a revenue split model that varies with vendor, but is built around a standard 30/70 split. While some apps may have paid options, they all follow Onshape’s lead by providing a free option. The app store launched in beta with 24 partner apps and scores of other technology partners you can expect to see on the app store in the future.

You’ll find some apps you know, some you’ve heard of, and some that are completely new to the 3D CAD scene. What becomes more apparent now, is that introducing an App Store with a commercial release shows where Onshape’s priorities lie. As is seen with their beta roadmap, they’re now left to concentrate on developing the most powerful cloud-based 3D CAD platform, while partners and savvy software developers provide the additional functionality through integrated apps.

The Onshape App Store launches with:

  • Apps for CAM, simulation, rendering, content, and more
  • 24 partner apps with beta launch, more to come
  • Integrated Cloud, Connected Cloud, and Connected Desktop apps
  • Revenue split model for paid apps, varies with vendor, standard is 30/70

Overnight, the functionality available with Onshape has changed and they’re certainly setting the pace for browser-based CAD software development (any CAD software, really) over the future. We’ll just need to see if those critical features are added as quickly as users need them. I know some people/companies who are waiting for certain features to ‘make the switch,’ so if feature dev is where their focus stays, 2016 should be another interesting year for Onshape and the Onshape community. Here’s one thing I’m wondering though, with this news. Are multiple subscriptions to multiple products attractive to you? A subscription to your 3D CAD, another for Simulation, another for Data Management, etc? We all use various software, so how is it any different?




Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.