This Wednesday is our product’s first birthday. December 14, 2015 marked the commercial release of Onshape, the first full-cloud CAD system that we built specifically to support Agile Design. It’s been an amazing year!

Consider a few key stats from our first year since release:

  1. Onshape recently surpassed 2,000,000 hours in usage time.
  2. Onshape users signed in from over 190 countries (depending on your politics, there are between 189 and 196 independent countries in the world). Over the past year, Onshape was made available in German and Traditional Chinese. In 2017, the product will be released in Korean and Simplified Chinese.
  3. One of six Onshape sign-ins is from an iOS or Android mobile device. Onshape customers truly value the ability to create and edit models on their phones and tablets, versus just using them as a mobile viewer.
  4. Onshape users received 15 updates with 120 features/enhancements over the past 12 months (see them all here). Contrast this with traditional file-based CAD systems, which usually offer only one major software update each year.

What’s remarkable about Onshape’s global reach is that we are not currently doing any marketing in the vast majority of countries where people are logging in. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Engineers and designers in every corner of the planet are embracing Agile Design and seeking out full-cloud CAD.

Huge Product Growth in 2016

With new releases being introduced every three weeks, we’ve been able to significantly improve almost every aspect of what customers do with Onshape. These improvements include increasing the speed and range of tools for modeling parts and assemblies, better production of drawings, and working closely with nearly 40 cloud application partners in the Onshape App Store. Our product is becoming more and more powerful.

Happy Holidays from the Onshape team!

Onshape has also expanded its team dramatically, most notably with the side of our company that works directly with customers. Onshape’s Customer Success team now offers “boot camp” or overview training specifically for CAD professionals who are used to working with SOLIDWORKS® and other file-based installed systems. The goal of these 8-hour training programs (spread over four days) is to get CAD veterans transitioned to Onshape right away.

At Onshape’s main office, my desk is located between Customer Success and Sales. As both teams work the phones all day, I’ve gotten real-time feedback of how Onshape customers are feeling, the speed bumps they encounter, the successes they are enjoying and most importantly, the suggestions they have to make Onshape even better.

Yes, of course there are occasional setbacks. But overall, I’m extremely proud of what I’m hearing on the “noisy side” of our office. I’m proud that the Agile Design messages in our new manufacturing eBook (get your copy here) are ringing true. Companies are speeding up their time to market and making more innovative products through real-time deployment, real-time data management and real-time analytics and controls.

Onshape’s Greatest Success: Our Customers’ Success

The scope and number of products being built with Onshape is expanding, too. We’re seeing more complex assemblies for products such as automobiles, surgical robots, industrial equipment, medical devices and construction machinery. Onshape is delivering startup agility to companies of all sizes, including some of the largest users of CAD in the world. As I mentioned back when I explained why we started from scratch in the CAD business, seeing customers build great products is our most meaningful reward. Whenever I welcome new employees, I tell them that Onshape’s business is not selling CAD – our business is about customers building great products. That simple belief informs everything we do here.

A concept design for a new gravy-filling machine being developed by FEMC, a leading food packaging machine company for global brands. FEMC credits the Agile Design properties of Onshape for dramatically reducing its design and manufacturing cycle.

Especially gratifying is hearing stories like this one from FEMC, an Ohio-based food equipment manufacturing systems company that caters to household brands like Nestle, Kraft Foods, Heinz, Hershey, Hormel and Dannon. If you’ve recently enjoyed a cup of Dannon yogurt, odds are you were eating from a container filled by an FEMC machine.

Chris Winters, a manufacturing supervisor and journeyman for FEMC, sent two of his veteran engineers to Onshape Boot Camp and says he’s noticed an immediate impact since switching to full-cloud CAD.

“In the food industry, it’s common for companies to change their packaging every 6 to 9 months. The food stays the same, but the containers change because of marketing strategy,” he says. “Onshape has taken us from a 3-to-6-month development cycle to where I’d say that 70% of our products now are in a 3-week development cycle – from the idea stage to final assembly.”

Wow. Streamlining the design and manufacturing process from 3 months to 3 weeks – now that’s agile!

Winters credits the accelerated development cycle to the real-time collaboration between departments when there were previously many communication delays.

Coming Soon in 2017

The difference between Onshape and traditional CAD is not a small thing – it’s a quantum leap from the way design and manufacturing teams are used to doing business. Onshape’s product development continues to move super fast (sign up for “What’s New” notifications here) and we will keep making improvements to help our customers be more successful.

And yes, sheet metal is coming soon – really – and I promise you’ll love it.

Also, as previously teased in this blog, Onshape Enterprise Plan customers will soon have a slew of more advanced analytics and controls tools aimed at large companies managing multiple design teams. These tools will include chart-based analytics on CAD activity by project, by person, and for the first time, you can get a real-time aggregate feed of updates across all your design teams and all your projects.

Thank You

I feel lucky because every day I get to work with some of the coolest product designers in the world: Onshape’s customers. Some of the improvements we’ve worked on over the past year are things that have always been part of our blueprint, things we knew were super important to every CAD user. But some of our best improvements were suggestions that came from our customers – so thank you! They are things that nobody could have anticipated because nobody else ever had a full-cloud database architecture CAD system before.

To our customers, I want to say that your investment and trust in us means the world to us. It’s been an awesome year, and we are looking forward to helping create even more success stories in 2017!