GrabCAD is an Estonian run startup focusing on helping engineers with CAD drawings. It’s a very niche oriented community for people with a certain skill set, therefore it’s also one where it’s tougher to build traction than in general with consumer services. However, after having a talk with Siim Teller, the Chief Product Officer of GrabCAD, I’m convinced they are onto something great here.
GrabCAD has been live only four months. Since the launch though, the company has seen steady growth, they have 1400 engineers who have joined the community and uploaded 700 free to use CAD models. In total, there have been more than 20 000 downloads, signalling a clear demand for such services.
We recently wrote about GrabCAD in our post listing the Innovate!100 winners. GrabCAD was one of the many Nordic and Baltic companies on the list.
The reason I perhaps see the most potential with GrabCAD is that it has managed to build its service in such a manner that it reminds of the popular developer service GitHub. GitHub’s slogan is social coding. That feature has mainly set it apart from other services in a distinct manner. There’s no reason the same approach shouldn’t work with GrabCAD.
Siim Teller told me that the social aspect of GrabCAD has taken off nicely. There are multiple conversations around models, different techniques, and so on. GrabCAD’s team has also put a lot of effort on the social side of things as they’ve been iterating and adding features as they realise the need for something in the community. One of the simple, but most popular features have been “requests”. People can request drawings from the community.
This has also lead them to realise the potential commercial value of the recent feature and thus, they’ve launched the marketplace for CAD drawings. Engineers can not only put their technical drawings on sale at the service. but also themselves which Siim Teller refers to as “GrabCAD is essentially realizing its dream to becoming the largest engineering company in the world”.
Teller also discloses that their CEO Hardi Meybaum has spent the last three months in the USA meeting big industry players, software vendors, service providers, VCs, competition and so on. The feedback has been very positive and they believe they’ve hit the sweet spot with a mix of open source CAD model library with enough social aspects and services marketplace.