Letter to the Community: It’s All About You, The Engineer
I have some exciting news to share with the GrabCAD community. Yesterday, we secured additional funding from Charles River Ventures, David Sacks, and our previous investors. The new investment, 8.15M dollars, brings our total funding to 14M dollars. This is such a long way from where we began, but we are still engineers building tools for engineers.
We started GrabCAD to change the way you connect. Our team built an open source library where people discover, share, and get feedback for their designs. Our mission was driven by the belief that when you create an open environment for engineers to collaborate, the results are better. Close to 300K engineers agree and find GrabCAD useful. They all contribute in different ways and we love that: uploading a project, adding a tutorial, giving feedback, or downloading a model they need.
Earlier this year many of you asked for more. Collaboration can happen in two ways - publicly and privately - and our community said they need a private version of GrabCAD, too, where they can work closely with their clients, team, and manufacturers. We listened and we are working hard to deliver for you. There are already companies using our tool to securely collaborate through our private, beta release. These companies are part of our Customer Advisory Board and are giving us great feedback. If you are an engineer who wants to collaborate in a secure and easy way, please write me at email@example.com.
So, why raise additional capital? For good reasons, we want to invest our time and resources in these areas...
GrabCAD Is for Engineers, Not Companies
GrabCAD was started by mechanical engineers to build tools for mechanical engineers. We are not going to make overly complicated, difficult to use PLM/PDM/ERP tools for enterprises. We will not sell our product through middle men who cause higher prices and prevent direct feedback from customers.
Instead we are going to build a product engineers enjoy using, something that solves engineers' problems. Everything we build is distributed through GrabCAD.com, so we can work to create an amazing experience from start to finish. Everyone in the GrabCAD team responds to customer questions and needs, so we know your pain and can act quickly to resolve issues.
Quality Instead of Quantity
We want GrabCAD to be the place to share quality engineering content. This will make a big impact on the future of our product and go into every aspect of our design including how we display projects, comments, answers, engineers, etc.
Currently our product does not live up to this standard and we feel bad about this. We have had challenges in the past with people abusing the GrabCAD Score and uploading other's content. We have taken steps to avoid these pitfalls in the future. We pushed a lot of great initiatives out this year like the 3D viewer, Ipad App, and Tutorials. These features got warm welcomes but we are not proud of the way they look and we know they can be better.
We are building products that you depend on every day and they need to work reliably and extremely well. Our biggest investment will be in improving our current product dramatically, in both the back-end and the front-end.
The Best Team
Earlier this year we announced two great hires, Jon and Grant. After that, we added around 10 more fantastic people to the team. In a couple of weeks, we will announce some more BIG news about new team members. Our people work very hard all day long to build a great product for you.
Short-Term vs Long-Term
When you don't have funding and you are building stuff from the money you get from customers, you always need to think very short-term. GrabCAD ver 0.1 had zero funding but already had paying customers, so we had to make some sacrifices for short-term results. This isn't a bad thing but it can stop you from creating something big, something that drives real change and takes time. We believe that the internet enables new ways of working and that the engineering industry is ready for exactly this kind of big scale change.
With our current funding, we don't need to make short-term sacrifices in revenue, product, or growth. Instead, we can focus on what's important - build the best tools for the engineers who design the real world products that we all use.
Accountable and Transparent
We want to make engineering more open and in order to achieve that we want to become more transparent than we are today. In order to do that, we would like to ask each and every engineer to keep us accountable for these promises.
The GrabCAD team is super excited to build you tools that will bring a smile to your face and change the way you work. Let's do this.
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About the author: (Hardi Meybaum)
Hardi's background is in manufacturing, as an engineer, consultant, CIO and ERP Team Manager with a strong combination of IT, sales, marketing and finance skills. Hardi holds a MSc in production development from Tallinn University of Technology. When not plotting how to bring the world's engineers together, he spends time with his daughter and teaches his Dachshund Fix some soccer.
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