Is MakerBot close to the brink? Stratasys-owned 3D printer company lays off 30% of workforce

Feb 16, 2017 | By Benedict

Stratasys-owned 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot has announced a “restructuring plan” that will see 30 percent of its workforce laid off. The New York City-based 3D printer maker went through a downsizing of similar proportions in 2015.

Is MakerBot close to the brink? Not according to the New York-based company itself, but that won’t stop the question being asked, with a growing degree of seriousness, by all in the 3D printing industry. In an announcement made yesterday, MakerBot CEO Nadav Goshen stated that the 3D printer manufacturer will be reducing its staff by 30 percent, focusing its efforts around a select group of “essential products” and reorganizing the company in smaller groups around those products.

By now, you probably know the history of MakerBot as well as you know your own family’s: MakerBot builds a much-loved, open-source desktop 3D printer; MakerBot controversially goes closed source; MakerBot gets acquired by Stratasys; MakerBot courts controversy seemingly everywhere it can; MakerBot cuts its workforce twice in a year. Although its 3D printers still sell, the company’s reputation amongst makers has been nosediving since as far back as 2012, when the decision to ditch open-source hardware was made. This latest announcement won’t help to allay any doubts that the New York printer maker is still heading in a questionable direction.

Understandably, MakerBot has tried to frame its latest “restructuring plan” as a positive move, emphasizing the need to “reduce the pressure and distraction of chasing short-term market trends” while focusing on “the essential products that are most relevant to [its] core customers.” However, it’s only by paragraph three of the announcement that Goshen tells us that MakerBot will be losing almost a third of its workforce. “I’d like to thank those who are parting ways with us today for their dedication, hard work, and friendship,” writes the MakerBot CEO, who was appointed to replace Jonathan Jaglom just one month ago. “MakerBot will be providing severance pay and will be offering career services to parting staff.”

Although MakerBot’s employment statistics are not in the public domain, it is estimated that 30 percent of its workforce amounts to around 80-100 people. Those who remain will be reorganized to increase cohesion, with employees in hardware and software product development now working as one team. Dave Veisz, VP of Engineering, will oversee hardware and software R&D, while Lucas Levin, Director of Digital Products, will be made VP of Product, leading product management across both hardware and software.

3D printing giant Stratasys acquired MakerBot in 2013 for over $400 million. According to Goshen, the parent company retains faith in MakerBot: “The Stratasys leadership team believes in the core achievements and strengths of MakerBot and supports it in making the hard steps,” he said. “It has the utmost confidence in our collective ability to deliver industry leading 3D printing solutions.” Shares in Stratasys fell 1.82% yesterday.

Posted in 3D Printer Company

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