Makerbot Industries, the company largely credited with bringing the 3D printing revolution to the masses has been acquired by its larger more industrial focused 3D printing rival Stratasys for around $403 million worth of Stratasys stock with performance incentive of another $201 million in stock on top of that. The move shows just how impressive Makerbot’s momentum has become in the world of 3D printing as its Q1 revenue jumped to $11.5 million a stark contrast to the $15.7 million in revenue it made in the whole of 2012. Stratasys will be hoping to leverage Makerbot to get into the hobbyist desktop printing market to supplement its already strong portfolio in the 3D manufacturing and prototyping business.
Bre Pettis, the chief executive and co-founder of MakerBot, said “Partnering with Stratasys will allow us to supercharge our mission to empower individuals to make things using a MakerBot, and allow us to bring 3D technology to more people.” MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys with its existing board and management in place when the deal goes through sometime in Q3 after regulatory approval.
Many hobbyists will be interested in what happens to Thingiverse, the open source 3D printing design marketplace bought by Makerbot Industries. Makerbot has become increasingly secretive now refusing to open source their code and designs for the Replicator 2 printer and with the acquisition by Stratasys it now has a larger corporate entity focuses on profits driving the company. Will these two factors add up to a shutting down on the open source nature of the largest 3D printing marketplace in the future?