Upstart web-based 3D modeling service Onshape just raised a massive USD$80M from a group of venture capital investors, which may lead to a battle for 3D modeling supremacy in the future.
Onshape is a very intriguing service, currently in beta testing; it provides web-based 3D modeling capabilities in the same way as standalone CAD software packages do, such as SolidEdge or Solidworks. In fact, the leaders of Onshape were literally the same folks that created Solidworks many years ago! Onshape would be familiar to Solidworks users, but it does offer a number of shortcuts and efficiencies not found in the older software.
That said, all is not perfect with Onshape. It’s quite new and does not yet offer all the functionality found in the more mature CAD packages. But it has a platform and momentum to add them in the future: the web-based app can easily be instantly updated for ALL users simultaneously by merely changing the server code.
And now it has the cash to do so. With USD$80M, they’ll be able to do two things: build out the product to approach the richness of the competing standalone CAD packages; and develop a much more broad marketing and sales organization to reach out to many more people. As Onshape is a web-app, scalability is a matter of adding more cloud engines.
This is good news for Onshape users, who will soon see a ramp up in new features. It’s not so good news for competing CAD packages, who likely will be strongly considering a move to web-based platforms in the future to enable quick deployments and customer retention.