Earlier this year, after co-founding Shapeways and many years of passionately running at full speed, I took a sabbatical to take a breath. During that time I decided not to return. Even though I love Shapeways, I want to move on and seek a new professional future. I am full of ideas, and I am ready for a next adventure.
It was a difficult decision to make, because I loved building Shapeways, and I loved being surrounded by the fruits of all of the community’s creativity. Working with the Shapeways team has given me such great memories. I have made many good friends; together they are the smartest, most dedicated and resourceful group of people I ever worked with and we've moved mountains whilst having so much fun together. We moved those mountains of work because we all believe in the vision of giving our community the possibility to make and have the products they really want. Products with personal meaning.
Our community has also given me many memories. From the early days of jumping up when we got our first ever paid order by Dolf Veenvliet to visiting Virtox and his wife for a television shoot, to having fun with Jettuh at model train conferences and later having him join Shapeways. And besides the beautiful Nervous bracelet I wear proudly, the greatest gift of all, is that I look at products and their design completely differently than I did 7 years ago.
Shapeways is not just an idea anymore. We have so many customers, print thousands of products a day and ship it all over the world. We collaborated with big brands like Victoria’s Secret and Neiman Marcus. Not only to showcase what 3D printing can do, but to showcase the designers –in these cases Bradley Rothenberg, Batsheba Grossman and Roger Pearce- as it’s the designers’ creativity and skill that can inspire the next generation of creative consumers to get the products they really want.
I've had the best and hardest roller-coaster ride of my life and would not have wanted to miss it for the world. I experienced the hard work, fun and the excitement of building a fast growing company, taking it overseas, building the factories and growing many of the teams. So, I know I am leaving it in trusted hands. The hands that built the revolutionary upload-to-print service, the hands that were the first to introduce the Shops so designers can become entrepreneurs with the click of a mouse. And the hands that were the first to make 3D-printed metal available to anyone. This innovative spirit is in Shapeways’ DNA. I look forward to see Shapeways steam ahead and continue to define what this market is about. I hope that one day digital and physical technology can catch up with the limitless imagination of the Shapeways’s community. I cannot wait to see how Shapeways does it.
Thank you Shapeways’ community and thank you to all my friends at and beyond Shapeways.
All the best, Marleen
Co-Founder and former COO/CFO and CSO of Shapeways