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Former SolidWorks CEO Rides the Cloud

CloudSwitch, a new startup, has just hired former SolidWorks CEO John McEleney as its new chief.

CloudSwitch, a new startup, has just hired former SolidWorks CEO John McEleney as its new chief.

CloudSwitch, a high-tech startup that’s operating in what it calls “stealth mode,” might have a tough time keeping its new CEO’s identity a secret. The man who took its helm last month happens to be John McEleney, former CEO of SolidWorks. For the CAD community, he hardly needs an introduction.

After becoming SolidWorks CEO in 2001, McEleney steered the company to prominence as a leader in mid-range 3D CAD. In July 2007, he bid farewell to the company that had been his vocational home since 1996.

CloudSwitch has revealed very little about its product, described as “an innovative enterprise software product that delivers the power of cloud computing seamlessly and securely.”

In Jaunary, the company raised $7.4 million in funding. It’s backed by Matrix Partners and Atlas Venture. The former’s strategy is to “invest in companies that [it perceives] to be on the cutting edge of creating major new markets in software, communications equipment, semiconductors, storage, Internet, and wireless.” The latter invests primarily in “early stage technology and life sciences businesses in the U.S. and Europe.”

Ellen Ruben, one of CloudSwitch’s cofounders, once served as the VP of marketing at Netezza, which specializes in data warehousing. In her public profile on LinkedIn, Ruben writes, “We’re growing quickly and looking for talented, high-energy engineers with a passion for disruptive technology.”

John Considine, another cofounder of CloudSwitch, once worked as director of Platform Products Group at Sun Microsystems. Recently, he delivered a keynote speech titled “Liberating the Data Center: How Cloud Computing Is Changing Enterprise IT,” at the New England Chinese Information Networking Association‘s SaaS [Software as a Service] and Cloud Computing conference (March 28, 2009, Chelmsford, Mass).

In the product lifecycle management (PLM) market, Arena Solutions stands out as a pioneer in offering SaaS modules, accessible via a standard Web browser. Last week, the company reported “another quarter of growth with annuity subscriptions increasing by more than 14% for its first quarter, ending March 31, 2009.”

Because SaaS vendors generally strive to keep their prices low, they could see increased adoption among small and midsize manufacturers, driven in cut cost to cope with the economic downturn. But CloudSwitch hasn’t released details about its target market, so we can only speculate on whether CAD users might benefit from its products.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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