Good morning, Data Sheet readers! By the end of the day, you will be sick of hearing about the Apple Watch—if you’re not already. Plus, the team from Solidworks is back with an idea that promises to disrupt computer-aided design.
TOP OF MIND
Countdown winds down. The Apple Watch is the first product developed completely under CEO Tim Cook. Later today, we should get pricing and shipment details. It’ll start at $349 and should reach wrists near you next month. Want the gold one? You’ll probably need to shell out close to $20,000.
Early interest is higher than expected, even though first movers like Motorola, Samsung and Pebble have so far failed to release a bona fide consumer products hit. If you tend to misplace keys, you’ll appreciate two early applications: Starwoods’ app controls hotel-room doors, while BMW’s software helps locate your car and unlock it.
Why world-class online education is failing to catch on. You can attend lectures taught by professors from Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. So why aren’t students—especially those who can’t afford those schools—signing up for massive open online courses (MOOCs)? One big reason: the degrees you can earn on the Internet still don’t have the same pull with recruiters or graduate schools.
An essay from Sunday’s New York Times explores the need for “digital credentials.” Writes New America foundation director Kevin Carey: “The fact that colleges currently have a near-monopoly on degrees that lead to jobs goes a long way toward explaining how they can continue raising prices every year.”
Here’s what wearables technology could mean for professional sports: longer athlete careers through injury prevention.
Square’s identity crisis. It’s doubling down on business services, especially those catering to small ones struggling with cash flow.
Patent suit du jour: Microsoft vs. Kyocera. The software giant believes location services and messaging features used in some of the Japanese company’s Android phones infringe on its mobile patents.
WATCH OUT, AUTODESK
Onshape, a computer-aided design (CAD) software startup from Cambridge, Massachusetts, has raised a total of $64 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Commonwealth Capital. The funding values the company, which has operated stealthily for the past three years, at $295 million, including the funding. (This total funding amount includes $34 million in funding first reported by the Boston Globe in 2013.)
On Monday, Onshape will announce the launch of its beta program, where it will disclose further details on its product as well as its unique pricing scheme and business model. The company, previously known as Belmont Technology, has been operating under non-disclosure agreement with more than 1,000 users, some of which are already paying customers.
The company’s basic premise: CAD software, which is a $8 billion to $9 billion industry, has been slow to adapt to modern methods of 3D design. Existing solutions make it difficult for workers to collaborate, as they’re not cloud-based or compatible with mobile. (Some have offered such services, but none are pure-plays.) “The CAD market hasn’t changed. The way people design and build products has changed,” says according to co-founder founder and chairman Jon Hirschtick. “It’s like the land that time forgot.”
Onshape’s goal is to modernize CAD software. “The vision of the company is that everyone on the design team is able to use CAD together, on any computing device, anywhere,” Hirschtick says.
He would know what the market needs. He co-founded one of the largest CAD software companies, Solidworks. In 1997, SolidWorks sold to Dassault Systèmes for $318 million, and Hirschtick stayed on board for the next 14 years in various roles. Under his leadership, SolidWorks grew to a $100 million revenue company. The next CEO, John McEleney, grew it to $400 million in revenue. McEleney plans to repeat that success at Onshape as its CEO.
The pedigree of Onshape’s executive team is the reason the startup has commanded a nine-figure valuation before even launching. In addition to Hirschtick and McEleney, Onshape’s management includes Dave Corcoran, Scott Harris, Michael Lauer and Ilya Mirman, all of whom are ex-Solidworks executives. DevOps leader John Rousseau was a founding engineer at cloud software maker CloudWorks, and Dan Shore, Onshape’s CFO, previously worked as Harvard University’s CFO. Onshape employs a staff of 60.
The team brings big ambitions to a potentially huge opportunity. “It’s a big project,” Hirschtick says. “It’s not going to get knocked off by 20 different groups of two college students.”
ALSO WORTH SHARING
Airbnb open sources internal data-mining tool. The company’s non-technical employees use the software to answer questions like: How many open listings are available tonight in Minneapolis? Now Airbnb is encouraging others to try it.
Mobile search specialist finds more money. Quixey has raised another $60 million in funding led by Alibaba, along with SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, and GGV Capital. Its technology bridges mobile apps with Internet services for task such as booking reservations or researching travel services.
Salesforce rival prioritizes mobile features. TechCrunch reports that customer relationship management company SugarCRM has bought Stitch, which makes mobile apps for smarter lead management. It’s akin to what Salesforce got when it acquired RelateIQ.
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Julianne Moore wants you to support “Women of Worth” by Deena Shanker
The bitcoin book boom by Daniel Roberts
This could be the best Apple accessory out there by Benjamin Snyder
15 secrets for getting hired by the Best Companies’ recruiters by Deena Shanker
Apparently, many of you think Practice Fusion’s practice of letting drug companies “sponsor” medication alerts in its electronic health records (EHR) software is a sound idea. (See the March 4 Data Sheet for the original item.) Here are two typical responses:
Eric Shooman, pharmaceutical marketing consultant: “Pharmaceutical manufacturers have been marketing to Health Care Providers (HCPs) via multiple channels for years, why is the emerging EHR channel causing concern for ethical issues while the legacy channels are not? Creating brand awareness for the life-altering therapies to prescribers will only improve outcomes. Who cares if the awareness is generated through a medical journal or an EHR? The ethical issue is being raised because skeptics lack trust in our medical professionals performing due diligence before prescribing new treatments, which has nothing to do with the channels in which we market to them. Making HCPs aware of pharmaceutical products should be encouraged, not frowned upon.”
Douglas Follmer, Salesforce.com account executive: “If doctors want to have a free piece of software, then they need to open the door for that company to monetize, even if the sole purpose is to allow that company to put money back into the software so it can grow over time. Of course, you could have an opt-out program that is paid so that [Practice Fusion] still is able to invest in future projects. I find it almost comical that a doctor complains over targeted ads when [we] as consumers get one-to-three drug and medical commercials each [TV] commercial break.”
ONE MORE THING
Slam dunk? Americans will spend more time watching the March Madness basketball tournament this month than it took to build the Empire State Building—times 100. No wonder we’re letting email creep into our “free” time.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
DocuSign Momentum. E-signatures and digital transactions. (March 10 – 12; San Francisco)
Microsoft Convergence: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19; Atlanta)
IDC Directions 2015: Innovation in the 3rd Platform era. (March 18; Boston)
Cisco Leadership Council: CIO-CEO thought leadership. (March 18 - 20; Kiawah Island, South Carolina)
Technomy Bio: The big picture on transformation. (March 25; Mountain View, California)
Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit: Crossing the divide. (March 30 – April 1; Las Vegas)
AWS Summit. First in a series of cloud strategy briefings. (April 9; San Francisco)
Knowledge15: Automate IT services. (April 19 – 24; Las Vegas)
RSA Conference: The world talks security. (April 20 – 24; San Francisco)
Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 - 28; Orlando, Fla.)
MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)
NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)
EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 - 7; Las Vegas)
SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7; Orlando, Florida)
Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)
Cornerstone Convergence: Connect, collaborate. (May 11 - 13; Los Angeles)
Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 - 20; Boston)
MongoDB World: Scale the universe. (June 1 - 2; New York)
HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 - 4; Las Vegas)
Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 - 15; Aspen, Colorado)
VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)
Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 - 18; San Francisco)
Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 - 8; Orlando, Florida)
Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 - 29; San Francisco)