Enterprise Software

Think3 is taking design software to a whole new dimension

If think3 has its way, the software company will change the way mechanical design is done in the $9 billion computer-aided design (CAD) market. Here's the lowdown on this up-and-coming, 3D-focused enterprise.


If you have a product that requires design of any sort, think think3. With its suite of Windows-based 2D and 3D mechanical design software, this California-based company wants to change the way products are designed. Think3's line of software products covers a broad spectrum of corporate design needs, including collaborative engineering, prototyping, structural analysis, 2D and 3D painting, viewing and markup, and graphics accelerators. Think3’s design software starts with conception and planning and goes all the way through to manufacturing.

Think3’s clients include companies that design appliances, car parts, home accessories, children’s products, motorcycle parts, and complex kayaks. Top customers include Adidas, Alessi, Buell Motorcycles (a division of Harley-Davidson), Candy/Hoover, Dinan, Mercedes, Peugeot Citroen Automobile (PCA), and Tycos Tool & Die.

Think3 is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, and has engineering facilities in Bologna, Italy, where the company was originally founded in 1979. The company has more than 200 employees worldwide.

Think3’s products include:
  • Thinkdesign, flexible 3D design software
  • Thinkshape, for free-form surface modeling
  • Thinkdesign, for realistic photo rendering
  • Thinkreal, for communicating a design through high-quality, high-impact life-like rendering.
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The market
Think3 hopes to provide millions of designers who work in 2D with powerful 3-D design software—further opening up the computer-aided design (CAD) market, which is estimated to be $9 billion worldwide. Think3 has marketed itself primarily in the United States and in Italy, where it has its engineering facilities. But it has also developed a strong foundation in Asia Pacific nations. Think3 has a growing network of value-added resellers (VARs) and distributors worldwide.

Strategic advantage
Think3 has a dynamic CEO in Joe Costello, a well-respected member of the Silicon Valley elite. Costello was named top-performing CEO of the year in 1997 by Chief Executive Magazine and listed among the “Elite 100” in 1997 by Upside Magazine. (One of his first acts as CEO was to run a Web-based contest to rename the company in 1998.)

The company has also developed strategic partnerships with CAD-IT, Singapore Polytechnic, Softech, and others. Another advantage is that the company has partnered with Intel to improve the performance of software run on Intel chips.

Think3’s products are scaleable, compatible across design file types, and collaborative. The company’s products received the 1999 CADENCE Editor's Choice Award (see “What others are saying about think3” below).

Financial information
Think3 is a privately held company. Sales information is not available. In December 1998, think3 received $18.5 million in second-round financing from an investment group led by Robertson Stephens' Omega Ventures. Investors include Norwest Venture Capital, Omega, US Venture Partners, Jafco America Ventures, Inc., Presidio Venture Partners, Sumitomo, Intel, and Wessels.

Management team
  • Joseph B. Costello, chairman & CEO
  • Carlo Ciampolini, founder and chief technology officer
  • Robert J. Habig, chief financial officer
  • Thomas Jensen, vice president of engineering
  • Kara Kerker, vice president of marketing
  • Anand Balaram, vice president of operations and service
  • Filippo Zuccarello, founder and managing director of European operations
  • Stefano Cinti Luciani, founder and vice president of research and development
  • Steve Becker, vice president of customer care
2880 Lakeside Drive, Suite 250Santa Clara, CA 95054Telephone: 408.987.2200Fax: 408.727.0237Web site: www.think3.com
What others are saying about think3
 “With a new name and company strategy, and now a newly redesigned product, think3 stepped into the 3D solid modeling arena with a splash this year…The company has tried to put the "fun" back into learning with a MYST-like training CD that helps users discover how best to use [thinkdesign]. Think3 has also taken a unique marketing approach, selling licenses on a yearly basis. This may indeed be a 3D product that coaxes more of those reluctant 2D users into the world of 3D design."

—“The 1999 CADENCE Editors' Choice Awards” by Arnie Willams, Peter K. Sheerin, and Heidi Hill, CADENCE, July 1999.

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