Successful serial entrepreneurs are unique in their ability to see transformational shifts before they happen and then they ultimately build a company to meet this future demand. In Jon’s case, it started during his time at MIT when he saw an opportunity in the CAD industry to automate an engineer’s sketchbook. It led him to start his first company called Premise which was later acquired.
The next shift was recognizing the difficulty of using CAD software for product designers and thinking there has to be a better way. This led to the launch of SolidWorks and they built their software to run on Microsoft Windows, which was groundbreaking at the time. The company scaled rapidly and it led to another successful acquisition.
As technology evolved to more of a SaaS business model and cloud based architecture, this opened the door for his latest company called Onshape. It changed the game for product designers in many ways, but especially for team based product development collaboration. The company also scaled aggressively and another amazing acquisition, this time by PTC in 2019.
Oh, and not only is Jon a great entrepreneur, but he was also part of the famous MIT Blackjack Team, which we discuss in lots of detail about this experience and also his interest in magic.
In this episode of our podcast, we cover:
- His experience using a computer for the first time at his high school which includes a very precious fun fact about a popular movie from the 80’s.
- Why he chose to study Mechanical Engineering at MIT and how he got involved in the CAD software industry.
- A journey through Jon’s entrepreneurial career including lots of stories around the companies he’s built.
- All the details about the launch of Onshape, its acquisition by PTC, including the growing popularity of the platform as well as their focus on making a meaningful impact on important initiatives like education where over 1M educators and students have free access to their software.
- Advice for founders on building out their core foundational team.
- And so much more.