Stratasys announced a long-awaited cross-selling arrangement between its desktop and industrial lines, setting the stage for a potentially large boost in sales.
Since Stratasys acquired MakerBot in 2013, the companies have largely operated independently, largely because their markets were quite different and required different approaches. But as the relationship between the two companies has matured, it seems there are a number of crossovers that they now wish to exploit.
Specifically, the new arrangement permits the sales partners of each company to sell each other’s products. Previously, MakerBot resellers had access only to MakerBots, but now they can also sell the full range of Stratasys commercial 3D printers as well. Similarly, Stratasys resellers, who are largely a very different group from MakerBot resellers, can now access MakerBot gear.
Essentially it greatly expands the accessible market for both Stratasys units.
Now, you might think this is not a notable step because the two markets are quite different. This is mostly true, but there are cases where it isn’t:
Consider the case of a Stratasys reseller who has relationships with a number of larger companies who use industrial-sized equipment. These companies may be interested in obtaining quantities of desktop machines to use for “draft” prints before committing to the more expensive equipment. This approach also puts 3D printing more directly in the hands of their engineers and designers, and could speed up workflow.
There’s also the case of staff wanting to purchase personal equipment through their company; we’ve seen this effect before. At a trade show for industrial equipment we witnessed a vendor completely sell out their desktop machines to big-company engineers who were purchasing them for personal use. MakerBot could be onto something big here.
Another scenario emerges with the MakeBot resellers: for some MakerBot customers, they may be experimenting with 3D printing using the desktop equipment, but have come to realize they need to upgrade to more capable equipment. The new relationship provide an instantaneous path for the MakerBot customers to become Stratasys customers.
This is a very good thing for both companies, and we’re surprised it hasn’t happened before.