Onshape, 3D CAD competition and my favorite quotes about startups

Onshape, 3D CAD competition and my favorite quotes about startups


Few days ago, my attention was caught by the article in BizJournal – Exclusive: Cambridge startup aims to raise $80M for 3-D design software. According to the following assumption, Onshape is probably the best funded CAD startup today.

That would put total funding to date for the three-year-old company at $144 million, with a pre-money valuation of about $800 million, according to data from Seattle-based venture capital research firm PitchBook Data Inc.

Onshape press release this morning is confirming the rumors. Navigate to the following press release to learn more – Onshape Raises $80 Million in Funding Led By Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley firm, has been an early investor in such companies as Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Box, GitHub, Pinterest, Skype, Slack, and Zenefits. General Partner Peter Levine will be joining the Onshape Board of Directors

It made me think about Onshape trajectory as a startup company. $144 million is a lot of money by any mean and it will put Onshape in some sort of uncharted territory for CAD company. At least, something we never seen before. The list of companies above funded by Andreessen Horowitz speaks for itself.  The following two quotes from Marc Andreessen can give you an idea about the place Onshape is stepping into:

We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big. – Marc Andreessen

“What would you do if capital were free?” is a dangerous question to ask an entrepreneur. It’s kind of like asking a fat person, “What would you do if ice cream had the exact same nutritional value as broccoli?” – Marc Andreessen

As a professional 3D CAD, Onshape is doing many things differently from others – it runs only in the browser, has embedded version control, allows you to edit 3D models on every device, it has new business model allowing you to use it for free. The following Marc Andreessen passage is a good explanation of what 3D CAD industry is going through.

You are cruising along, and then technology changes. You have to adapt.

I discussed what Onshape is doing with many people for the last months after Onshape made its beta available for public. The following quote from Sam Altman of Y-Combinator can give you a feeling of what people think about Onshape:

Everyone who has done something impressive remembers someone telling them “that will never work” – Sam Altman, Y-Combinator

One of my favorites books about startup is Ben Horowitz’s – The hard things about hard things. And this another great quote (it would be interesting to ask John McEleney and Jon Hirschtick if they are feeling the same):

As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours and cried. Ben Horowitz.

What is my conclusion? Onshape has money, vision, team and experience. In my view, Onshape is embracing the struggle to make a dent in CAD industry. The trajectory of Onshape will be interesting and it has a potential to change many things. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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