3D Printers

3D printing business MakerBot lays off 30% of staff, Stratasys remains “committed”

The recently appointed CEO of Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot has announced his first move, a drastic reduction in headcount.

In a blog post today Nadav Goshen, CEO explains that, “The leadership team and I have been working on a new organizational structure, and as part of this new plan we will reduce staff at MakerBot by 30%.

Sadly, the news follows a predictable pattern as the previous MakerBot CEO reduced the employee headcount by 20% in April 2015 and by a further 20% in October of the same year.

As 3D Printing Industry previously reported Goshen has been brought into to revive lagging business units in the past: this has led to some speculation that Stratasys is preparing to sell the MakerBot brand.

Stratasys and MakerBot 3D printed parts Photo by Michael Petch
Stratasys and MakerBot 3D printed parts Photo by Michael Petch

Early signals of trouble at MakerBot

Stratasys CEO Ilan Levin denied this path is the direction the company are heading, telling 3D Printing Industry that, Stratasys continues to be committed to MakerBot and we are working closely with Nadav Goshen on the leadership transition.”

However, when speaking to 3D Printing Industry the Director of Public Relations at MakerBot also told us, “We believe that MakerBot is still one of the strongest 3D printing brands. Over the last two years, MakerBot launched products that have been well accepted by the market.”

3D Printing Industry understand that the Director of Public Relations left MakerBot within the past 7 days and prior to today’s announcement.

Who remains?

Goshen states that he’d, “like to thank those who are parting ways with us today for their dedication, hard work and friendship.” From our sources we understand the further news about the exact structure of those who are still employed by MakerBot has yet to be announced. Insiders have given us conflicting figures, with employee figures after today’s cuts ranging between 120 to 190.

The restructuring will see MakerBot bringing, “hardware and software product development under one team. Our VP of Engineering, Dave Veisz, will now oversee all hardware and software R&D, and we’re promoting current Director of Digital Products, Lucas Levin, to VP of Product, leading product management across hardware and software.” 3D Printing Industry have found that a number of contacts as MakerBot no longer have valid email addresses, including members of the softwear development team.

MakerBot will be making further announcements this week about the news.

Desktop 3D printing part of long-term strategy

In contrast to 3D printing business rival 3D Systems, Goshen says, “As part of Stratasys, we believe in the long-term opportunities in desktop 3D printing.” 3D Systems CEO Vyomesh Joshi has previously stated that the desktop 3D printing market is not an area where his company will focus.

For MakerBot Goshen adds that, “Greater focus on long-term goals is key to our success, and we must reduce the pressure and distraction of chasing short-term market trends.”

As MakerBot CEO, Goshen must contend with what many in the 3D printing industry see as a brand irreparably damaged. At recent tradeshows several MakerBot resellers have told 3D Printing Industry reports about the difficulty of reestablishing credibility, frequently with a new nozzle in hand.

Furthermore, analysts will be watching intently to see how the new CEO responds to the increasing number of desktop 3D printer manufacturers. Many such manufactures offer what can be considered more technically advanced products at the same or lower price points.

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Featured image show MakerBot positioned within other Stratays 3D printers. Photo by Michael Petch