Sometimes floating in the netherworld of the technology startup scene, it is easy to forget that people out there are making actual real world stuff, beyond motorized skateboards and activiy-tracking armbands. Mechanical engineers, for example, are responsible for designing and producing rather important things like machines, tools, manufacturing plants, various forms of infrastructure, medical devices, and transportation systems.
GrabCAD, an online community for mechanical engineers, has pulled in $8.15 million in funding. It blends the online and offline worlds by providing social and cloud technology to inform the development of physical products.
Mechanical engineers have worked with computer-aided engineering (CAD) for decades for design and production. GrabCAD links engineers with each other, as well as customers and manufacturers, to make the use of this software a more collaborative process.
The network currently has 270,000 members and 50,000 free CAD projects. Engineers can communicate with each other, exchange ideas, and share their expertise. They can also find projects to work on, participate in progressional product design challenges, and use GrabCAD tools and features. Businesses can also use the site to submit engineering problems to be solved.
This is GrabCAD’s second round of funding, bringing its total to $14 million. Charles River Ventures and Yammer founder David Sacks participated in this round, as well as existing investors Matrix Partners, Atlas Venture, and NextView Ventures.