By Raphael Wieland

As the newest member of the Whittaker Associates team, I have spent the past month trying to figure out what exactly it is that we do here. I still don’t have a perfect definition of what it is we do, but our company tagline of “Giving Information Meaning” is a layman’s phrase that fits well. Sometimes we give hard data meaning by using predictive analytics programs like the new one being developed by Sailesh Dhungana. At other times, we give a procured trend meaning by understanding the driving forces behind it and drawing implications about the future.

In April, our Research & Project Manager, Vidhan Rana, wrote an article about 3D Printing and the future. In his article, he stated a trend in 3D printing, and mentioned some of its implications. 3D printing is a huge leap towards a material replicator like the one from the hit show Star Trek. However, Star Trek is set in the 2260s and is only sci-fi, but in 2013, only two months after Vidhan wrote his article, two of the biggest names in the 3D printing industry had some important news.

During the week of June 17th, I was conducting market research on the 3D printing industry. I found many articles and reports that reinforced what Vidhan had written. However, just a few days later, my RSS feed erupted with news. Stratasys and MakerBot, two of the companies Vidhan pointed out as notable 3D printing companies, announced that they planned to merge together in a deal for up to 7.2 million Stratasys shares if MakerBot meets certain performance-based thresholds. Stratasys, specialized in high-end, industrial 3D printers, strategically acquired MakerBot, who has sold more than 22,000 less-expensive, desktop 3D printers since it was founded in 2009. David Reis, CEO at Stratasys, stated that “MakerBot has impressive products, and we believe that the company’s strategy of making 3D printing accessible and affordable will continue to drive adoption.” At today’s market price ($83.19), MakerBot stakeholders are looking at making up to $600 million. Not bad for an initial investment of $13 million in 2011.

Source: CNN Money