by Roopinder Tara of Tenlinks.com
Pricing of software has always seemed artificial. It's not like a car, where the sticker price can be justified by the cost of metal, rubber...companies get to sell software at whatever price suits them. They justify the price (sometimes the same as a car) by insisting that it is the only sustainable way, that they do a lot of R&D, customer support...that companies that undercut prices are only cutting their own throats. Don't expect those companies to be around long, they say.
Erik de Keyser, CEO of Bricsys, disagrees. Strongly.
Bricsys sells their software, BricsCAD, a fully featured, general purpose 2D & 3D CAD program for as little as $420. Bricsys has been doing this since 1999.
"We're going to learn about BricsCAD," says Erik, leading off the Bricsys annual conference in Amsterdam. "And have some fun."
Sure enough. There was tour through the Heineken brewery. Tonight there will be a big party. This may be the norm for companies who sell their software for the price of cars. The profit margin is substantial and sufficient for such frolics. But for a company that sells its software for 1/10 the price of its competition?
Though not privy to their books, I noted several outward signs of success -- beyond the perks.
- Bricsys broke away from the flailing ITC to do it's own DWG development, able to cover it's own ARX code rewrite.
- Expansion, such as with recent acquisition of LEDAS IP for its 2D and 3D technology
- Customer support as a company goal.
- A strong and well supported developer community, avid developers, several at conference who cited great interactions with BricsCAD developers.
- Robust development and steady release cycle, additional features and improvements, such as in just announced V13.
- A stated goal to expand vertical applications, including mechanical design and AEC.
- No doubt under Erik's leadership, Bricsys has emerged as the predominant non-AutoCAD DWG-based CAD package from among a host of contenders. So close is its likeness to AutoCAD that they report one developer gave an entire presentation with BricsCAD thinking he was using AutoCAD. This, at a fraction of the cost of AutoCAD.
Trained as an architect, Erik de Kyser started Bricsys in 1999. He and creative director Sander Scheiris drove from company HQ in Ghent to meet me for a most delightful lunch at Brussels last year. To meet Erik is to come away impressed with his energy and commitment. Or was it the wine? May be Erik turns on the charm for the press?
"Every year, we all take all the employees on an all expense-paid vacation," says Erik during the brewery tour. "They can take their families." Last year everyone went to Portugal.
Hmm. Very nice, Erik. Now, where do I turn in my application.
[Reprinted by permission from CAD Insider.]