MakerBot store Boston now closed.
MakerBot announced a major shake up to its infrastructure last week resulting in significant downsizing of staff and the closure of all three of its retail stores as part of a major re-organisation.
In what Stratasys CEO, David Reis, called “the continued scaling of MakerBot,” a reported 20% of its workforce, estimated to be around 100 employees, has been laid off and its New York, Boston and Greenwich stores have also closed their doors.
MakerBot said in an official statement:
“As a company that’s focused on leading-edge innovation, we’ve learned to embrace change in order to stay focused.
Today, we at MakerBot are re-organizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations.
With these changes, we will focus our efforts on improving and iterating our products, growing our 3D ecosystem, shifting our retail focus to our national partners and expanding our efforts in the professional and education markets.”
An anonymous Reddit post claimed that private security were present at MakerBot’s Brooklyn office last Friday to escort around 100 staff out of the building and Formlabs cofounder Max Lobovsky even weighed in, perhaps for the benefit of now former MakerBot employees, to say “We are still hiring” along with a link to the Formlabs’ careers page.
William Alden - Buzzfeed News.
MakerBot store window.
Founded in 2009, the company has fast become one of the desktop 3D printing world’s most recognisable brands, a poster child for start-up culture and was acquired by Stratasys in 2013 for more than $400 million in a bid to for the 3D printing giant to move into the consumer market. In the last two years alone MakerBot experienced phenomenal growth of 600% but in December 2014, Stratasys recorded a $102 million write-down for the brand stating “slower growth of MakerBot product and service revenues in the fourth quarter, challenges associated with the introduction and scaling of its new product platform, changes in timing of implementation of certain initiatives and changes in MakerBot’s distribution model”. Since then a reshuffle saw former MakerBot, acting CEO Jenny Lawton move to a role within Stratasys heading up Special Projects and general manager from Stratasys Asia Pacific, Japan Jonathan Jaglom, take up the role as MakerBot CEO.
Some people are calling it a reality check for the 3D printing industry whereas others argue it is just part of the necessary action to push the company forward. Either way, MakerBot has made the decision to move its efforts into areas that are already showing enormous promise in the 3D printing space such as the education and professional markets and in doing so expanding its integral 3D ecosystem.
Speaking to Jonathan Jaglom in New York, the CEO told TCT that maintaining MakerBot’s ethos is key to accelerating MakerBot’s position in the industry.
“The MakerBot brand today is extremely powerful,” Jaglom explained. “It’s extremely strong within the 3D printing community and I definitely want to preserve that brand and maintain that identity. MakerBot is very different from Stratasys in many ways in terms of its DNA, in terms of its culture, it terms of its can do attitude, its fearlessness. The challenge is how can I enjoy the resources within Stratasys whilst preserving this MakerBot culture.”
Jaglom added: “Our challenge is to understand the needs of tomorrow so as long as we partner up with our customers and understand their needs we have a better understanding of where we need to take the technology.”
Duncan Wood, Publisher of TCT commented on the situation, “Whilst it is regrettable that many have lost their jobs it is not unusual for a business to experience exponential growth before needing a reset or consolidation in order to move forwards."
"Redundancy is not a simple thing to do, particularly when there are 100 jobs to at stake. However people should also consider that these actions could well safeguard 400 positions which seems to have been forgotten in the scramble to trash Makerbot on various forums."
"The previous leadership have driven the business in a direction that required significant staffing level increases, but neither Bre Pettis or Jenny Lawton are still in their roles so it is perhaps sensible to assume that some things needed to be changed."
"Having met the new CEO, Jonathan Jaglom for the second time last week it is clear he has passion for Makerbot and he is a shrewd operator, whilst the short term is painful it is entirely likely that these moves position Makerbot to move forward again."