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CEO Exclusive: 2 Ways MakerBot Gives Stratasys Ltd. an Edge

By Steve Heller – May 13, 2015 at 11:04AM

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According to MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom, two areas separate the consumer 3D printing company from its peers.

Although consumer 3D printing specialist MakerBot has had a difficult couple of quarters, its newest CEO, Jonathan Jaglom, believes there are two areas where the Stratasys (SSYS -5.17%) owned unit stands out from the crowd. In the following video, 3D printing specialist Steve Heller interviews Jaglom about these areas and how MakerBot fits into the bigger picture at Stratasys.

During the segment, the pair discuss the importance of MakerBot's market-leading install base, which stood at over 80,000 units when the interview was recorded last month during the Inside 3D Printing Conference in New York City, and the role that MakerBot's ecosystem plays in Stratasys' competitive positioning.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Steve Heller: In terms of MakerBot's install base, we're talking about 80,000 printers sold since MakerBot's inception. That represents approximately 65% of Stratasys' total install base. How much of an advantage does this give MakerBot over the competitive landscape?

Jonathan Jaglom: First of all, can we talk about Stratasys?

Heller: Sure, absolutely.

Jaglom: MakerBot is that first entrance into the Stratasys world. That's how we see it, and I think it makes a lot of sense. You start your experience with a MakerBot, but that doesn't stop you from thinking to move into the next phase, which is the higher-end printers that are offered by Stratasys.

The fact that we have these 80,000 printers out there is really exciting for Stratasys because if we play our cards right and we tap into that install base and offer them different solutions on the higher end, then definitely we can leverage off our install base like never before, and that is a huge competitive advantage.

Heller: It's sort of a gateway -- a sales channel if you will, almost -- to higher-end products.

Jaglom: Absolutely it's a gateway. It's one of the reasons why I'm here [as MakerBot's CEO]. It's something we have to think about and play out carefully. I'm very, very excited about that, and so should everyone around Stratasys.

Heller: In terms of the ecosystem, how is MakerBot differentiated from the competition? I know that MakerBot's more than a hardware company. Can you elaborate on that?

Jaglom: Yes, MakerBot is more than just a hardware company. The ecosystem that we have around our printers is just amazing, and second to none. No other player in the desktop 3D printing space has anything close to what we have in terms of ecosystem.

Thingiverse is one example, where you can share files online. Thingiverse has 700,000 downloadable files that you can print; 700,000 is the number, over 1 million downloads per week.

That's tremendous content happening there, and also we have our mobile apps, and you can [remotely] launch your printer from home or from work. You can even watch your print on camera. We launched our great Shape Maker today. We give tools to kids, to be able to create content.

The ecosystem around MakerBot is really an important part of the MakerBot equation. Don't look at MakerBot just as a hardware company, at all. The ecosystem around that is so important to recognize. That is really where we are second to none in this industry. That really is our competitive advantage in this space.

Heller: Thank you.

Steve Heller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of Stratasys. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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