One of the reasons Stratasys-owned MakerBot is so successful within a market crowded with competition, is because they cater to an entire 3D printing ecosystem. From the actual hardware of the printers themselves, to the software that runs them, to the largest 3D printable model repository on the planet, Thingiverse, MakerBot has their fingers in just about every area of their users’ desktop 3D printing experience. Just like Apple controls their ecosystem of music, games, applications and more, MakerBot is in control of their own ecosystem.
The MakerBot Digital Store is a rapidly growing area within the company, allowing for trademarked designs to be sold, such as characters from Seasame Street, Hello Kitty, and more. One of the more important software backbones of the store, which provides a digital rights management system so that models can’t easily be copied and redistributed, is created by a company called Layer By Layer.
MakerBot has become so reliant on Layer By Layer that they have today announced the acquisition of the company. The software company — based in California and founded two years ago by Jonathan Schwartz, Max Friefeld, Graham Tremper, Dustin Kane, Becca Schwartz, and Oliver Ortlieb — has now moved their main operations into the MakerBot Brooklyn office.
“We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Layer By Layer and move forward with the projects we have been working on with the Layer By Layer team. We see this as a major step forward in being able to support not only our licensed content partners with a secure digital rights management system, but other content as well,” noted Jenny Lawton, acting CEO of MakerBot. “The team has been working on several really interesting projects and we are excited to implement added features and benefits to the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem.”
By bringing this company in-house, MakerBot will allow for quicker integration and further customization options for this software and other applications in the future. The goal of Layer By Layer was originally to create a seamless 3D printing experience, one which could provide even those with little to no knowledge within the space the ability to quickly and easily use this incredible technology.
“Since we started Layer By Layer almost two years ago, it has been our goal to push 3D printing forward by building a complete and seamless user experience from finding something you want to print, to actually printing it,” noted Max Friefeld, co-founder of Layer By Layer. “We have always strived to make 3D printing a more accessible technology by reducing the barrier to entry with innovations in design and computer science. So, as you probably can tell, we’re incredibly excited to now be working at MakerBot, where we’ll continue to innovate and explore within 3D printing.”
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and the integration of the company into MakerBot’s workflow seems to have already occured due to their close working relationship in the past. Let’s hear your thoughts on this acquisition in the MakerBot/Layer By Layer forum thread on 3DPB.com.