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Next-generation CAD startup Belmont Technology picks up $25 million more

Posted by Scott Kirsner  April 2, 2013 10:31 AM

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That was fast: A Cambridge startup crafting software for the people who create new products has raised $25 million in additional funding, just a few months after collecting its first round of $9 million.

I wrote last December about Belmont Technology, which reunites a team of veterans from SolidWorks, a successful 1990s-era developer of computer-aided design (CAD) software that is now part of Dassault Systèmes; at that point, Belmont had backing from two local VC firms, North Bridge Venture Partners and Commonwealth Capital.

The new funding infusion was a "pre-emptive offer," according to Belmont CEO John McEleney, who says he wasn't planning to raise more money in 2013. "We'll use the money to ramp the hiring and continue the development process," he says. The company has just 13 employees near the Red Line's Alewife stop. (McEleney is in the center of the photo, wearing the vest and pink shirt.)

"We're building product design software," McEleney says. "The process of how people design products has changed." He notes that most of the major players in CAD software still sell products that run on Windows-based machines, even as engineers and designers regularly use tablets, mobile phones, and the web to modify and access content. "This new generation of engineers expect data to be more shareable, not locked down and 'in the vault.'" And the way products are actually designed, manufactured, and assembled is much more distributed, he adds: "It used to happen under one roof, or on a corporate campus, and now it is spread across facilities around the globe." (It's clear that the cloud will play a major part in Belmont's product strategy, and McEleney's last startup, acquired by Verizon, was called CloudSwitch.)

McEleney says that Belmont has started conducting some early usability tests of its product, and will be doing more private betas later this year. The company's website is still pretty sparse, aside from listing a few skills the company is hunting for in new hires, like experience with "distributed cloud based architecture" and "rich web application development."

This second funding round was led by NEA, a Maryland-based VC firm. McEleney says that Belmont is probably just a place-holder name, but the company hasn't yet settled on a new one.

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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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