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GrabCAD collects more funding, plans office warming party with Estonian president

Posted by Scott Kirsner  April 4, 2012 01:07 PM

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GrabCAD founder Hardi Meybaum tells me that his startup has added a few hundred thousand bucks to the $4 million funding round it announced back in January. The new money comes from individual investors like Doron Reuveni, CEO of uTest; Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of 99Designs; and Ahti Heinla, formerly the chief technical architect at Skype.

And next Wednesday, the president of Estonia, Toomas Henrik-Ilves, will be in town to help GrabCAD inaugurate its new offices at the American Twine Building in East Cambridge. (The company got started in Tallinn, Estonia. Locally, GrabCAD had previously been shacking up at the Kendall Square office of Matrix Partners.)

The company has built a site that brings together mechanical engineers who design products and components of products, in part by offering a free library of 3D CAD (computer-assisted design) models that they can use in their work. Engineers can also set up profiles on the site and showcase their work. Companies that want to crowdsource the design of a new product or part can run challenges on GrabCAD, and potentially get dozens or hundreds of engineers thinking about their particular problem. The companies award prize money for the best design, and may later continue working with an engineer to move the product forward. GrabCAD charges an administrative fee for each challenge.

Meybaum says the Cambridge office currently has four employees, and the Tallinn office has 12. Meybaum says he expects the company to add another four jobs in Cambridge over the next few months. He splits his time between the two sites.

GrabCAD was part of the 2011 TechStars Boston class, after winning the Seedcamp London program earlier that year.

Here's a screenshot from the GrabCAD site:

grabdcad.png

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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