ANSYS acquires SpaceClaimANSYS announced on April 30th, 2014 that it has purchased SpaceClaim for the sum of $85 million in cash. Now that is a very interesting turn of events. Why? Because it puts ANSYS in the position to offer a well established history-free CAD software to a world that is demanding similar performance, all the while paving the path to a simulation driven manufacturing market populated by their well regarded (and often major client demanded) analysis software.

SpaceClaim’s history-free modeling platform allows users to create and manipulate any 3D-CAD models, no matter what software created them. Having SpaceClaim’s clean UI and history free CAD option with ANSYS software should mark a significant point in the ANSYS “Simulation Driven Product Development” strategy.

The Press Release

The announcement made by ANSYS in this press release also noted:

“This transaction is consistent with our strategic vision and M&A criteria, and accelerates our technological product roadmap to enhance our customer offering and drive growth,” said Jim Cashman, president and CEO of ANSYS. “SpaceClaim is an exciting addition to our portfolio, as it addresses unmet 3D modeling needs in the conceptual modeling, manufacturing and 3D printing spaces, which represents an audience of 5 million users. In addition to driving innovation, the addition of SpaceClaim helps ANSYS accelerate the growth of the simulation market by broadening our user base from analysts and expert users to the millions of design and systems engineers in the industry. We welcome the SpaceClaim team to ANSYS.”

Market Review

Some other interesting points noted by Monica Schnitger’s analysis:

  • ANSYS and SpaceClaim have been partners since 2007
  • ANSYS expects SpaceClaim’s revenue to be around $14 million this year
  • SpaceClaim’s 50 or so employees have moved to ANSYS except CEO Chris Randles and CFO Gregory Stott.
  • SpaceClaim has sold ~50,000 seats since the first release of its software
  • ANSYS states that the purchase will not affect the neutrality of the ANSYS model

She goes on to look at the expectation that ANSYS will be able to use this to expand it’s user base to 5 million seats. That’s a far reach from the noted 145000 seats of ANSYS in use (as of 2011). She however points out the long haul strategy [ed. umm.. REALLY long haul] that considers the 25 million engineers in manufacturing’s needs for better simulation and analysis capabilities, and 1.1 million commercial CAD seats. While most don’t want to move to simulation, some do, and many more will require it in the future.

My thoughts

Will ANSYS integrate SpaceClaim’s technology into their own CAD systems? No one has stated on way or another, but they certainly have the talent pool now. My thoughts are beginning to turn to certain CAD vendors that offer new modeling technologies alongside well positioned simulation platforms, and what this might mean for them.

What is certain is that ANSYS has a great opportunity to continue to market and sell SpaceClaim’s great CAD platform to the industry’s greater demand for history free, easy-to-use CAD software, while paving the way for CAD users, both old and new, to adopt ANSYS simulation.

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