Cloud simulation specialist SimScale reaches 10,000 customers

Two rounds of venture funding are propelling this spin-out from Technical University Munich.  

A new web-based (cloud) platform for engineering simulation has reached a milestone with the recent signup of its 10,00th paying customer.

SimScale provides a broad range of simulation tools from fluid mechanics, structural mechanics and thermodynamics in a single user interface, available through a web browser without the need to download software. The SimScale platform is designed for scalability, allowing a customer to choose one workstation, several, or a large cluster as needed for each analysis project.

Visual results from a stress analysis of a wheel loader arm, completed by engineers at Custom Machines in Australia using the SimScale engineering simulation platform. (Graphic: Business Wire)
Visual results from a stress analysis of a wheel loader arm, completed by engineers at Custom Machines in Australia using the SimScale engineering simulation platform. (Graphic: Business Wire)

This week SimScale added new finite element analysis capabilities, as well as a variety of user interface improvements and more online tutorials. As a web-based product, it is free to upgrade the software anytime without worry about the typical issues of getting software upgrades to its users.

Munich-based SimScale claims users in 190 countries, simulating products in a variety of industries using structural, fluid flow, thermal, and acoustic simulation methods. Academic use is free, with up to 1000 core hours computing time per month.

One typical customer is Custom Machines, an engineering design consultancy in Ballarat, Australia, which specializes in machine design for a broad range of industries including mining, rolling stock, confectionery, agriculture and manufacturing. For their recent project, the SimScale platform was used to optimize the design of a custom-made load cell. “We had some difficult design constraints on this project, including a short time-to-market, tight budget and complex mechanical loading to deal with,” said Ben Lewis, president at Custom Machines. “The powerful SimScale simulation platform enabled us to speed up our development process and gave us the insight we needed to optimize the design. The platform enabled us to test the product in a virtual environment without costly and time-consuming prototypes.”

SimScale was launched in 2010 as a spin-out from Technical University Munich as an engineering consultancy with a focus on numerical simulation by five partners—mechanical engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians. After developing a prototype for the cloud simulation platform, SimScale received an initial funding round early in 2013 from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), BayernKapital and a business angel consortium. A second round of financing was announced in November 2014, led by global venture capital firm Earlybird, and including all the original investors. Earlybird partner Hendrik Brandis was quoted at the time of the new funding round as saying, “SimScale breaks down all barriers traditionally associated with simulation technology and makes it accessible to a broader range of users—a classical case of disruption.” The amount of money in the two rounds was not announced.

What do we think?

Everybody talks about the cloud but few do anything about it. The two leaders in engineering simulation, Ansys and MSC Software, are more focused on high performance computing, where customers own the hardware. As with most innovative software applications, it won’t be the incumbents or their largest customers who break new ground but the start-ups—who then often get gobbled up by an incumbent.