It has been a while since we have reported an exit for Estonia. Today’s news of GrabCad’s acquisition, placed around the $100M mark by several sources including TechCrunch, is an extremely important one for many reasons.
To date, GrabCad has received a total of around €10.5M in investments and the exit is very important to the Estonian community for many reasons.
First, it is just the second venture backed major exit for Estonia, the other one being Modesat Communications that happened roughly two years ago.
From what we know, Modesat Communications was a good sized exit, but GrabCad is definitely the larger one of the two. Taking into account other exits from Estonia, it could be fair to say that this is the largest exit for Estonia since Skype.
Second, everybody was keen to see a massive exit such as this one to come out of the state-owned SmartCap and the Estonian Development Fund’s portfolio. There was a lot of pressure on the fund to deliver, and there have been some speculation surrounding this, which this deal puts to rest.
Andrus Oks, from SmartCap commented “We are obviously very happy to be on board. We were the first investor together with Astrec into GrabCad and this is what we do here. It is our aim to build great companies and shoot for these exits. We are hugely grateful to the team and especially Hardi Meybaum, also enjoyed the ride very much.”
Third, this is great news and inspiration for the Estonian business angels, as this is the most successful exit for any Estonian angel to date (Marek Kiisa), which is also great news for EstBAN, the Estonian Business Angels Network.
Finally, it is great news for the founders, who can now serve as an inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs from Estonia, which is a much needed boost and we hope to see many more exits from the region to come.
Originally GrabCad, started out as an engineering crowdsourcing tool, however later evolved into a collaborative working tool for engineers. The buyer, Stratasys, is a large 3D printing solutions provider who for example also owns MakerBot and Solidscape. The acquisition will allow them to manage the process from the concept design to 3D printing better, and of course allow them to tap into the 1.5 million strong community of 3D engineers.