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MakerBot CEO: 3D Printing Going Mainstream

For many consumer and engineering prototyping customers, MakerBot is 3D printing.

Stratasys, MakerBot's parent company, is the largest 3D printer vendor, with over $750 million dollars in sales during 2014, according to Statista. So when a new CEO took them helm of MakerBot in late February, it was big news in the 3D printing world.

Jonathan Jaglom was no stranger to 3D printing. Before taking the position at MakerBot he was general manager for Asian operations at Stratasys. His history is professional 3D printing, and that history informs the way he talked about MakerBot.

In an extended telephone interview with InformationWeek, Jaglom said that his history meshes well with that of the company he now leads.

“What has really happened is that MakerBot grew through the community of Makers, but relatively quickly they outgrew that community and established themselves in industries outside the consumer space,” Jaglom said, explaining that MakerBot expanded into “the education and professional spaces, both.”

MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom
(Image: Courtesy of MakerBot)

MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom (Image: Courtesy of MakerBot)

3D Goes to School
Jaglom explains that MakerBot has targeted the education market with a combination of basic system ease-of-use, a curriculum plan developed for teachers, and flexible pricing for educational institutions.

The combination has made a difference in MakerBot's penetration into the market compared to what he saw when he visited schools as a Stratasys executive.

“I came from Stratasys and the reality of the industry was that those printers [were] more expensive. You can't deny that. With MakerBot, the cost of ownership is about 1/10 of that of the Stratasys printers. Students can print readily without as much concern for cost,” Jaglom. “When I went to universities for Stratasys, the printers were seldom in use when I visited because I was told they were for grad students or end of term projects. We have MakerBots in over 5,000 schools and the printers are being used extensively throughout the year.”

Those installed systems are at the leading edge of a market that Jaglom feels will have significant growth potential. He compared 3D printers today with other technology that has grown with time.

“I think the relation to the computer in the 80s where you had computers in the schools and later they showed up in homes is what we'll see here,” said Jaglom. “The .EDU space is huge. People are coming to us and saying not, 'We want a 3D printer,' but, 'We want a MakerBot.' We're getting traction there. It's very impactful. Over time those students will grow and graduate, and I believe that eventually people will have printers at home.”

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site InformationWeek.

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