GrabCAD Grabs More CAD Veterans, Opens New Branch in Cambridge, UK

A clear sign of GrabCAD's expansion: It has added a few veterans to its executive teams, but, more important, it is also looking for additional talent.

Rising to notoriety within a short time in an established universe, two-year-old GrabCAD sometimes seems like a new kid, a space cowboy barely old enough to sport a beard or brandish a lightsaber. But things are swiftly changing. The young Padawans have just found several Jedis to help steer their Millennium Falcon into new territories.

Jon Stevenson, whose history includes several executive positions at PTC and Siemens PLM Software (called UGS in Jon’s time), was previously an investor and adviser for GrabCAD. In July, he took on the role of VP of technology. (In the minds of younger members of GrabCAD, Jon is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of CAD.) This month, GrabCAD grabbed Dan Dignam, previously chief architect of SolidWorks, and Stuart Reid, previously development director of Interoperability at SolidWorks. Dan and Stuart will become the core of the overseas GrabCAD office in Cambridge, UK. According to GrabCAD CEO Hardi Meybaum, the company is also looking to significantly expand the development team in Estonia, Hardi’s homeland.

So far, GrabCAD has been focusing solely on building an online community for engineers. But the arrival of seasoned CAD soldiers signals a new direction. GrabCAD is currently developing a collaboration system targeting enterprise users.  Their efforts will benefit from not just the new talents they’ve acquired but also a fresh round of funding — $8.15 million from Charles River Ventures.

Established CAD vendors managed to gain some grounds in online collaboration, but GrabCAD succeeds in this area to a much higher extend, in part because this is the company’s primary focus. In my view, the founding team’s understanding of social media (perhaps a reflection of their age range) gives them an advantage bigger rivals don’t have. Also on GrabCAD’s management and adviser teams are Mart Oruaas, previously from Skype, and David Sacks, founder and CEO of Yammer.

Evidently GrabCAD is not done recruiting. On its homepage, there are still many unfilled positions, taunting others to defect.

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