Onshape Nabs $80M From Andreessen, Others for Mobile CAD Software

Hardware engineers designing and tweaking products with computer software have traditionally been chained to their desks. But like most industries, these employees are increasingly going mobile, using smartphones and tablets to complete their work.

That requires new computer-aided design software that lives on the Web, allowing scattered colleagues to quickly share files and automatically update documents with changes. One of the companies offering such a product, Cambridge, MA-based Onshape, just got a huge endorsement from some big-name investors.

Onshape today announced an $80 million equity funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, and North Bridge Venture Partners. Andreessen Horowitz is the well-known Silicon Valley VC firm that was an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Pinterest, Skype, and other famous tech startups.

Onshape has raised $144 million total from investors since its 2012 founding. The company says it will use the new money for expanded sales and marketing worldwide and to juice up its research and development and customer service. It’s also adding about a dozen people to its current staff of around 80 employees, most located in Cambridge. It has additional staff based in others parts of the U.S., the U.K., and India, marketing director Darren Henry says in an e-mail.

“We are thrilled to have a strong vote of confidence from Andreessen Horowitz as we prepare to move out of beta and expand our global presence,” Onshape CEO John McEleney says in a press release.

The Boston area is home to a number of startups focused on aiding the process of designing and manufacturing physical products. Others include Cambridge-based GrabCAD, a company with a software product similar to Onshape, which was acquired last year by 3D printing giant Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS). And Somerville-based Formlabs just unveiled the latest version of its desktop 3D printer.

Onshape, formerly known as Belmont Technology, says its CAD software can run in a desktop Web browser, as well as on smartphones and tablets. It offers the ability to share documents instantaneously and allows everyone to work on the same master CAD data—no file copies or “overwriting each other’s work,” the company says.

Onshape says its software doesn’t require any IT support, so no installation, no licenses, and no updates to manage.

Six months after Onshape’s beta launch, more than 10,000 CAD professionals are using its software to help design consumer electronics, medical devices, machine parts, industrial equipment, and other products, the company says.

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