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As 3-D Printing Grows Up, MakerBot Slashes Its Workforce

As 3-D Printing Grows Up, MakerBot Slashes Its Workforce
[Photo: Flickr user Maurizio Pesce]

Friday was a rough day over at the MakerBot headquarters in Brooklyn. Less than two years after being acquired by 3-D printing giant Stratasys, the company has reportedly laid off 20% of its staff, according to Motherboard.

From the looks of it, the layoffs are part of an all-too-common round of downsizing that often comes when a bigger company snatches up a startup.

According to Motherboard:

The reasoning for the layoffs, the employee told Motherboard, is that MakerBot is looking to integrate further with Stratasys, its parent company, and is streamlining its operation to further that end.

“It’s consolidating with Stratasys, so it’s economies of scale and looking at duplicate positions and consolidating,” the employee said. “We have a new CEO, so he has a different plan in mind,” she said, crying. “I’m sorry, it’s a hard day.”

3-D printing has come a long way since the 2009 launch of MakerBot, which has focused on consumer-level desktop 3-D printers. As the technology has become cheaper and more ubiquitous, additive manufacturing has gone from a rare, bleeding-edge innovation to something that is used by designers, manufacturers, architects, and product development types across a wide range of industries.

The companies that make these printers have been slowly consolidating as well. In 2011, 3D Systems (a chief competitor of Stratasys) acquired Boston-based Z Corporation for a reported $137 million. Unlike Z Corp, MakerBot has continued to operate as a separate subsidiary with its own distinct brand.

Still, the powers that be evidently saw enough redundancy and potential cost savings to justify showing about 100 people the door this afternoon.JPT