Andreessen Horowitz $80 Million Funding in Onshape is a BIG deal

27 Sep 2015

During a conversation I had with John McEleney, President of Onshape last Monday, he told me why it was a big deal to Onshape.

Onshape was not actively looking for additional investment. Their original investment of some $60 million was sufficient for at least the next year. Rather, Andreessen Horowitz approached them. Of course, McEleney was excited that Onshape was able to more than double its investment, and with the backing of Andreesen Horowitz, raised some $80 million in the round.

What is very attractive is that this investment round comes from the leading high tech investment firm and they get why Onshape is different. You can read about why Andreesen invested in Onsape from Peter Levine’s article entitled “CAD Emerges from the Stone Age to Finally Join the Mobile Era.” Levine is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz. Levine, in the article claims that Onshape truly changes the game in CAD for the first in the last 20 years. Not that the last two decades have not contributed substantially to the field; it’s just that this time has been spent working with the same old, stand alone computer technology. In this new era, systems that embrace document sharing, collaboration, cloud storage, and being mobile-native will rule the roost. Of course this perfectly describes the path taken by Onshape.

What’s surprising to me is that none of Onshape’s competitors seem to have any existing or planned offerings in this arena. It’s not like this is a big surprise either. We have known about Onshapes plans for several years now. I guess, as has been common in the past, it may take several more years, and substantial revenue loss before they wake up to these rapidly approaching changes.

As always, I welcome comments.

Ray Kurland

2 responses

  1. Ray, I agree with your assessment that no one seems close to the platform that Onshape is now iterating on and I also am puzzled as to why not. It seems as if things are now shifting under existing CAD companies feet more quickly than they are prepared for. The plans of some companies to take existing CAD products and put them on fra.me will NOT enable the document sharing and collaboration that you reference. I strongly suspect designing in a database system like Onshape will have massive overwhelming advantages compared to file based ones that existing companies are attempting to prop up a little longer now. Another topic you and I might be curious about is the migration of company’s data from file based systems into modern cloud database ones. How does that transpire? I would like to see a path forward for emancipating file based CAD data that is silo-ed in last generation PDM platforms. I don’t yet see that path.

  2. Autodesk has had cloud CAD offerings in the market for several years now. Most directly applicable here is Fusion360, which is a far more expansive tool for product design and development. It includes collaboration, visualization, CAM and as of last week simulation, all either free (students, schools, entrepreneurs, start-ups) or $25/month. Our CEO had more to say about it when Onshape launched in March: http://autode.sk/18uZNNf

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