There's a very long interview with MakerBot Chief Bre Pettis in MAKE magazine that we encourage you to read. We went through it looking for clues to MakerBot's future plans, especially after their recent gigantic infusion of an astonishing USD$10M from investors. Here's what we noticed:
- Bre is still very pumped about MakerBot as a business: "…growing MakerBot as a business has that same DIY rush of figuring out how to do something and then right away manifesting it."
- MakerBot is doing an increasing amount of marketing, particularly using modern approaches. Example: MakerBot TV or their fantastic Colbert Report appearance.
- The addition of new experience to their board should produce some interesting results: "With the recent funding, we’ve added Brad Feld to the board, and together we have a great time scheming the MakerBot future."
- MakerBot now employs 51 people and they're still hiring, as we reported earlier.
- They've now divided their company into different divisions, which has to happen as any organization grows. They now have separate Production, R&D, Software, Support, Marketing, and Operations divisions.
- Where do they get staff? "We have the most luck in hiring interns and folks who are already MakerBot Operators. We love giving paid internships to young people. I think about half of the staff either started as interns or were MakerBot Operators before they worked at MakerBot."
- "Nearly 6000" MakerBots (of all species, presumably) have been sold so far. We believe this is a reasonably large hunk of all the personal 3D printers out in the wild today.
- Apparently the assembled version of MakerBot's 3D printers are "growing in popularity". This jives with our belief that there is a larger market for those more comfortable avoiding the sometimes difficult assembly process. Also: "We’ll continue to innovate and make it so MakerBots are easier to use. It’s been our goal from the beginning to democratize manufacturing and bring fabrication to the desktops of the world. I want it to be much more accessible for kids."
- MakerBot is apparently profitable. (Huge congrats to their team!)
- MakerBot is not partnering with any 3D modeling tools. We're wondering if this is a good decision, as Tinkercad has integrated with some of the popular 3D print services. It would be very cool if there was some kind of software integration with MakerBot as well.
- They're intending to use the USD$10M infusion as a means to expand. This means hiring, supplies, tools, marketing and raw materials with which to make more MakerBots. It seems that it's all about growth.
- One very interesting point towards the end of the interview: MakerBot has bumped into a patent challenge. Evidently, they've received "letters from companies with patents who have let us know that they are watching our every move", and even had to avoid marketing a new component that violated a patent. Perhaps some of the USD$10M will be used to create MakerBot's own patents?
Via MAKE (Hat tip to PT)