This is so interesting! 3D Hubs made a very strategic hire that could change things significantly.
3D Hubs, if you recall, is the Amsterdam-based startup that originally intended to build a worldwide network of personally-operated desktop 3D printers to provide a kind of virtual 3D print service for anyone requiring local prints. They almost succeeded in achieving that vision, having gathered tens of thousands of participants across the globe.
Their business model was to skim off a small fraction of each print job’s fee paid by the requester to the 3D printer operator. Unfortunately, it seems that this part didn’t quite work out, as the company was unable to generate sufficient revenue to continue pursuing this option.
And there was another issue: powerful and relatively easy-to-use desktop 3D printers eventually were made available by a number of vendors, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have purchased these machines. For 3D Hubs, this meant that the amount of people requiring casual 3D prints decreased because people simply used their own equipment. If you were interested in 3D printing, you got your own machine, rather than using a service.
3D Hubs Pivot
Thus a year or two ago 3D Hubs began a significant pivot in their business model. Instead of focusing on personal 3D prints, they began focusing on business use. This switch up echoed similar refocusing done by many 3D printer companies who faced the demise of consumer 3D printing in and after 2015.
Technically, this change meant 3D Hubs would be signing up professional 3D printing operations to provide advanced 3D print services to business, rather than personal operations. What this meant is that 3D Hubs suddenly came into competition with major 3D print services, such as Sculpteo, Shapeways, i.materialise and others.
It seems they have been successful in this pivot so far, even able to attract major additional investment. However, they have earned the wrath of many previous 3D Hubs operators who signed up under the original premise.
3D Hubs Strategy
Now we hear that they’ve hired a new Managing Director for their US operations.
His name is Robert Schouwenburg, and his previous employer was none other than Shapeways. Not only that — he was original co-founders of Shapeways!
If you can imagine a good corporate move being taking on someone highly placed and experienced from a competitor, this would be a classic case. Schouwenburg would be well-versed in all the aspects of the very market 3D Hubs is now competing within. He would be aware of strategies attempted at Shapeways, including those that failed.
With knowledge like that, one can see 3D Hubs moving forward much more quickly than they would otherwise.
Via 3D Hubs