Onshape Inc made a next step in the development of cloud CAD system with the announcement of commercial release and private Beta for Onshape App Store and API. Onshape made virtual press conference...
(Firstly - thanks to Oleg Shilovitsky for another fine article)
So Onshape is finally out of beta and live!
Quick recap - Onshape, founded mostly by the former Solidworks founders, raised a truckload of money ($144M in 4 rounds) to basically put CAD in the browser (vs traditional big package install). Reasons - for all the benefits of cloud, eg collaboration, access anywhere from any device, cloud computing, …
To me this is not a revolution, instead it’s more of an evolution. At 4D Pipeline we’ve helped build and take to market over a 100 new software products. Of these - there is only a small handful of “traditional” desktop installed products. My point is - if you are starting a new product you are almost certainly going to start it thinking about multiple devices/OSs, cloud, collaboration, etc. I.e. Cloud and having an App strategy is no longer revolutionary it’s table stakes. It makes sense, it’s needed, it’s awesome. So, i’m a little surprised that Onshape raised $144M; and that’s it’s taken so many years to release. That said, they have done many things right and seem to have had a nice delivery of their product to market.
Their usage metrics are so far more vanity metrics vs real metrics (eg most useful metric is 10000 users but this is not the same as 10000 regular users), however i am sure we will see these numbers grow. What is very impressive is their app store, they have come to market with some good partners - nice to see companies like SimScale there for cloud simulation.
To me their biggest challenge is less technical and instead more to do with the “lockin” of CAD. It’s hard (especially for the big companies) to change CAD systems. It’s a big change, it’s risky, and their invested in their current solution. i.e. dont break it if it’s not broke. That said, many would argue there are a lot of things that are “broken”.
Anyway - great to see a new CAD package on the block and in the cloud, it’s going to be interesting to see how Onshape grows and if (when?) it gets acquired (I’m tempted to start a betting pool!).