Back in June of 2013 MakerBot was acquired by Stratasys. At the time, MakerBot was to be managed as their own entity, allowing the company to continue operating without any major adjustments. This allowed Bre Pettis to continue implementing his strategy for growth while Stratasys worked behind the scenes to prepare for a future which now included the world’s most popular desktop 3D printer brand.
As with many acquisitions, however, the acquiring company eventually will leverage their resources and technology to realize a refined business strategy. We saw these steps initiated when Bre Pettis stepped aside to head up Bold Machines and Jenny Lawton was promoted to take his place. It then turned out that Lawton was only a temporary solution as the company slowly began rolling out their integration strategy. Lawton has recently been replaced by a man who has been with Stratasys/Objet for over a decade, Jonathan Jaglom.
Jaglom, whom I had the pleasure of meeting this week at Inside 3D Printing in NYC, seems to be a man with a plan to further leverage the assets of Stratasys to MakerBot’s advantage, both from an intellectual property and talent standpoint. Oftentimes when an acquisition takes place, there are unfortunately individuals laid off. Overlap between positions within a company and conflicting visions often are the cause. There is no doubt that Stratasys has been disappointed with the recent fourth quarter numbers coming out of the Makerbot division, which saw only a 7% year-over-year rise in sales. This may have unfortunately led the company to lay off a large number of employees today.
An anonymous source within the company emailed us Friday afternoon informing us of these layoffs, and subsequent employees have posted on Reddit about the move.
“All my friends at MakerBot just got laid off,” explained one employee. “They say there is currently private security escorting about 100 people out of buildings in their industry city complex in Brooklyn.”
Motherboard confirmed the magnitude of this layoff from an anonymous source:
“It’s about 20 percent of staff. Everyone suspected that something would be coming with the new CEO, and that there would be restructuring coming.”
Twenty percent of the workforce would equate to approximately 100 employees, and is likely a move to cut costs and streamline operations between both Stratasys and MakerBot. This number is apparently just an estimate, and we have not confirmed these numbers with the company.
“It’s consolidating with Stratasys, so it’s economies of scale and looking at duplicate positions and consolidating,” an employee told Motherboard. “We have a new CEO, so he has a different plan in mind.”
MakerBot has since released the following statement saying:
“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.”
It’s certainly an unfortunate event, but likely one which has been planned for some time now, and may have been somewhat expected within the company. As for closing their three retail locations in New York City, Boston, and Greenwich, CT, this is also a very surprising move on their part. Hopefully for those who have been laid off, there will be opportunity within the industry elsewhere as the market continues its rapid expansion.
I Let us know your thoughts on this news. Discuss in the MakerBot forum thread on 3DPB.com.