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MakerBot Lays Off One-Fifth Workforce, Closing Retail Locations

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Consumer 3D printer maker MakerBot is laying off 20 percent of its workforce and shuttering several retail locations as part of a re-organization and strategic move in light of fast growth in the past several years, according to the New York-based vendor.

In a blog post on Friday, the company cited its evolution as happening at an "incredible pace," and noted growth of more than 600 percent between 2012 and 2014.

MakerBot reportedly earned $11.5 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2013, which represented two-thirds of the previous year's total revenue.

"Today, we at MakerBot are re-organizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations," stated the blog post.

"As a company that's focused on leading-edge innovation, we've learned to embrace change in order to stay focused," the company stated.

According to one report, the company's workforce stood at 500 prior to the layoff announcements, which will likely mean pink slips for about 100 staffers.

The move to reorganize comes two years after MakerBot was acquired by Stratasys and became a subsidiary.

"These organizational moves are part of the continued scaling of MakerBot," said David Reis, Stratasys CEO.

Reis says the workforce reductions and store closure will allow MakerBot to focus its efforts on improving its product and grow its 3D portfolio. Future plans include a bigger focus on national partners and expansion efforts in the professional and education markets.

The big goal ahead, explains Reis, is "putting the power of desktop 3D printing in the hands of even more people in 2015."

The six-year-old company was founded by Bre Pettis and soon became a market leader in 3D printing. Stratasys bought it for $403 million.

"At MakerBot, we're proud of being a highly innovative company that is leading the new product category of desktop 3D printing. We've experienced significant growth since inception, and achieved market leadership by iteratively testing, proving and pivoting our business," stated the blog.

Once the company was acquired, Pettis resigned as CEO to run an innovation workshop effort within Stratasys. The new CEO, Jonathan Jaglom, is an executive who was with Stratasys prior to the acquisition of MakerBot.

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