Stratasys To Acquire MakerBot?

By on June 9th, 2013 in Corporate

Tags: ,

A report on TechCrunch proposes that MakerBot is in talks with Stratasys “regarding a possible acquisition”. The report says “persistent rumors of a sale or new funding have followed the company this year”
The report also says MakerBot has been seeking investors with a goal to raise USD$25M by valuing the company at USD$300M. 
Is this for real? Let’s first think about the potential acquisition. 
Why It Makes Sense:
  • Both companies use extruded plastic filament technology, originally invented by Stratasys and trademarked as “FDM”
  • Stratasys’s low-end commercial 3D printers may be suffering losses from clients buying MakerBots instead of Stratasys gear
  • Stratasys would like to continue to grow and MakerBot could provide another product line
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense:
  • Stratasys has shown zero interest in addressing the consumer market thus far
  • Stratasys’s business culture could not be farther away from MakerBot’s free-wheeling open source heritage
  • Stratasys is already busy integrating their previous acquisition, Objet
  • Stratasys’s business model involves sole-source premium-priced plastic filament, while filament sales are peripheral to MakerBot’s business model and in fact, MakerBot’s machines accept any filament, including low-cost generic products
  • MakerBot CEO, Bre Pettis, has publicly stated “We’re going nowhere” when asked about such an acquisition
  • MakerBot has just opened a new factory, demonstrating long-term intention to continue manufacturing units
  • MakerBot is too small to significantly change MakerBot’s bottom line
We’re thinking there is no such Stratasys acquisition in the works. 
Meanwhile, the idea of MakerBot raising USD$25M makes much more sense. This follows the standard pattern of startup companies: raise money at a certain valuation and grow using that investment. Then raise more money at a higher valuation, since the company has grown. Everyone wins. MakerBot has already raised USD$10M, so they’re already executing this strategy. 
MakerBot may sell the company to another investor someday, but we’d wait until it grows a lot more. Why sell now when there’s so much growth potential? 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!