Careers at Shapeways
Shapeways operates an online 3D printing marketplace and community that enables customers to create, buy, and sell custom and personalised 3D-printed products made with a range of materials.
Shapeways was founded in 2007 by Peter Weijmarshausen (“Weijmarshausen”), Robert Schouwenburg (“Schouwenburg”) and Marleen Vogelaar (“Vogelaar”). The concept behind Shapeways was initially developed within the design department of Dutch electronics company Royal Philips, where Weijmarshausen, Schouwenburg and Vogelaar first met. The Company was spun off from Royal Philips in 2008 to become a separate and independent business entity. The Shapeways business model was further developed under the Philips Lifestyle Incubator program, a startup accelerator designed to assist entrepreneurs with the development of new ideas.
Shapeways began attracting funding in 2010, raising $5 million in its Series A round from investors Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures. To date, the Company has raise more than $76 million in five rounds of funding, attracting high-profile tech investors Andreessen Horowitz, Hewlett Packard Ventures and Lux Capital. Shapeways is now a market leader in its field, having since formed a number of partnerships and having been tasked to create branded products for several companies such as Hasbro.
Benefits at Shapeways
Business model of Shapeways
Shapeways serves general consumers wishing to make online purchases of 3D printed products, including jewellery, memorabilia, custom parts, games, art and gadgets. While the Company provides its services to customers around the world, serving more than 181,000 customers each month, the US accounts for almost half of the Shapeways website’s traffic. Users from the UK, Germany, Canada and France together account for around 20% of the website’s traffic.
Shapeways also includes designers and independent retailers among its customers, who are able to set up shops through the Shapeways platform and begin selling their own products online and can provide design services through the site.
Shapeways’ key value is that it makes 3D printed products available to the mass market through a platform as easy to use and familiar as high-profile online retailers. The Company’s marketplace offers a wide variety of products at lower prices than alternative 3D printing channels.
It also allows users to submit custom designs, set up their own online stores and participate in a community events and discussions. Designers are able to enhance their audience and have the opportunity to have their products sold by high-profile third-party online retailers.
Shapeways sells products through an online marketplace hosted at www.shapeways.com. The Company’s products can also be purchased via a number of third-party online retailers that have developed Shapeways integration.
The Company’s API has also enabled Shapeways technology, pricing and products to be integrated into third-party applications.
Shapeways’ online marketplace operates on a self-service basis, with users able to browse and purchase items directly through the Company’s website with no need for registration and no need for interaction with sales representatives. The Shapeways store is full searchable and divided by category so as to be easy to navigate. Shops can also be opened by Shapeways users by completing an online registration form.
Shapeways provides support to its customers through the Help Centre portal hosted by its website. This includes design tutorials, FAQs, information regarding material statuses and shipping details. The Company also oversees hosts its Community Hub, where users can interact with one another and with Company representatives, participate in discussions and organise and attend events and user groups.
Shapeways maintains and operates an online 3D printing marketplace and community, that enables users to create, buy, and sell custom products from a range of materials, including metals, plastics and porcelain. The Company offers products spanning jewellery, household products, gadgets, mechanical parts and memorabilia.
Shapeways’ products are also sold through third-party online retailers and are used in the creation of custom modifications to drones. These products are manufactured both by the Company itself, through facilities in the Netherlands and the US, and through a network of production partners.
Shapeways also provides a platform for customers to set up their own online stores and oversees a community through which customers can share ideas and gain access to new technology.
Shapeways collaborates with a number of companies, including 3D printing and production partners, software developers and online retailers. The Company operates a Global Partner Network comprising fabrication houses, manufacturing facilities and 3D printing shops across the world. This enables the Company to serve customers in more than 130 countries as locally as possible.
Shapeways has released a 3D printing API, allowing third-parties to create and sell 3D products, integrate Shapeways pricing into proprietary product creation apps and add and manage Shapeways products through third-party applications.
The Company has also developed integrated functionality with online retailers, including Neiman Marcus which lists a number of products designed by Shapeways users on its website, and has developed a website in collaboration with toy manufacturer Hasbro through which it sells products inspired by Hasbro brands.
Additionally, Shapeways has partnered with Future Engineers, Made in Space and ASME as part of a series of NASA developed 3D space challenges aimed at students, and has launched a partnership with drone manufacturer DTI to enable designers to create unique 3D printed accessories for drone products.
Shapeways’ ability to print and sell designs through its website are key to its operations. The Company key resources are consequently its online marketplace, its manufacturing facilities and production partners, its personnel and its IT infrastructure.
The Company has protected its technology with patent applications filed with both the US Patent and Trademark Office and IP Australia, including under the titles ‘Weight-based identification of three dimensional printed parts’ and ‘Systems and methods for three dimensional printing’.
Shapeways primarily incurs costs relating to the maintenance of its IT infrastructure, retention of its personnel and operation of its manufacturing facilities.
The Company has production in New York, Seattle and Eindhoven, which accrue fixed costs relating rental, utilities, equipment maintenance and materials. It also operates three offices that accrue additional rental and utility costs.
Shapeways generates revenue through the sale of 3D printed products through its online marketplace, estimated to be around 181,000 each month. The Company earns a variable commission one every product printed and sold through its own facilities and its network of production partners. The rate of this commission depends on the material used, the size of the products and the complexity of the design.
According to reports from 2015, margins on these products can range from a few percent to a few dozen percent. Shapeways’ revenue model is set to rely principally on commission-based payments for the foreseeable future, however, the Company may begin charging small fees for services such as design advice that are currently available free of charge.
info: Peter has served as Shapeways’ Chief Executive Officer since 2007. After graduating from the Eindhoven University of Technology in 1997, Weijmarshausen pursued a career in the technology space. He first joined 3D software publisher Not a Number in 2000 as an IT manager, leaving the company after a just year to join telecoms operator Aramiska as Director of Engineering. He was appointed Chief Technology Officer of satellite modems company Sangine in 2004, his last executive role before co-founding Shapeways in 2007.
info: Marty joined Shapeways as its Chief Financial Officer in 2013. He is an engineer by trade, beginning his career in 1984 as a systems engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems. In 1987 he joined Stratus Computer as a quality assurance engineer and research and development controller, a position he held for eight years. Meyer was appointed Chief Financial Officer at server company Xedia in 1995, his first of a series of Chief Financial Officer positions he held between 1995 and 2011, including at SightPath, Equipe Communications, Ucentric Systems, Bowstreet and ExtendMedia, where he also served as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Shapeways, Meyer served for two years as President of IT security provider Corpero Network Security.
info: Matt was appointed Vice President of Engineering at Shapeways in 2014, having first joined the Company in 2012 as Quality Team Lead. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2006, Boyle joined Teletronics Technology as a system test engineer. He left the company after two years to join home automation solutions company ControlThink as software engineer, moving in 2010 to become a software engineer in the IDEAS Division of Morgan Stanley.
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