MakerBot Shifts Focus to Schools to Crack Consumer Market

MakerBot Shifts Focus to Schools to Crack Consumer Market

MAKING A PLAY: MakerBot, a manufacturer of desktop 3D printers, is shifting its focus to schools in hopes of using them as a way to break into the consumer market.

“It taps into our longer-term vision of wanting to go through the education space into the consumer space” CEO Jonathan Jaglom told Fortune.

In February 2014, the Brooklyn-based company installed 30 MakerBot replicators at the State University of New York at New Platz to open the MakerBot Innovation Center. Since then, the company has expanded its presence into 5,000 universities and K12 schools, released a handbook, “MakerBot in the Classroom,” for teachers and students using 3D printing and uploaded videos—MakerBot at Whitby Schools, MakerBot for Educators—of its educational implementation and uses. These all comprise MakerBot Education.

One possible reason for MakerBot’s focus on schools: the company saw revenue dip 18 percent in Q1 of 2014 compared with Q1 of 2015 and a layoff of 20% of its staff this April. In response, MakerBot told Fortune that it was shifting its “retail focus to our national partners and expanding our efforts in the professional and education markets.” A standard MakerBot desktop 3D printer costs $2,899.

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