Quickies: Autodesk acquires & Dassault Systèmes updates guidance

Nov 17, 2020 | Hot Topics

Autodesk University starts today, virtually, so expect a lot of news. First up, Autodesk announced that it is acquiring Spacemaker, a company that makes artificial intelligence (AI) and generative design solutions for architects, urban designers, and real estate developers. With Spacemaker, Autodesk says, “design professionals can rapidly create and evaluate options for a building or urban development. With AI as a partner to the architect, the Spacemaker platform enables users to quickly generate, optimize, and iterate on design alternatives, all while considering design criteria and data like terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic, zoning, etc. Spacemaker quickly returns design alternatives optimized for the full potential of the site. This leads to better outcomes from the start and allows designers to focus on the creative part of their professional work.”

Autodesk is paying $240 million net of cash for Spacemaker, whose revenues were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close during Autodesk’sFQ4, so by the end of January 31, 2021. You can read more in Autodesk’s summary of the deal,, here.

One interesting note: Autodesk says that real estate developers are the primary early adopters of Spacemaker. That’s a segment Autodesk isn’t very active in today (having sold off their facilities management solutions decades ago). It’s also a market segment that’s seeing a huge wave of change as we all get used to a post-COVID world. Reconfiguring office spaces, changing chopping arcades and malls to meet new types of consumer demand, repurposing existing structures, and planning new ones 00 if ever there was a place for AI to help make better decisions, faster, this is it.

Next, Dassault Systèmes is hosting an investor event today at which the company announced its new 5-year plan, through 2024. CEO Bernard Charlès said “As we look to the next five years I believe we are positioned to accelerate Dassault Systèmes’ contribution to industries, the environment and to human health leveraging industry platformization and data intelligence. The Manufacturing sector is accelerating its sustainable innovation initiatives thus creating demand for data modeling and simulation, a sweet spot for Dassault Systèmes … In the Life Sciences & Healthcare sector, we are working with industry participants to move toward a patient-centric perspective. Finally, we are advancing initiatives with multiple industries, government entities and new emerging disruptors to reinvent Infrastructure & Cities to create a sustainable future.”

CFO Pascal Daloz quantified this, saying that DS is targeting non-IFRS revenue growth of about 10% at constant currencies by 2024 with non-IFRS revenue from cloud software reaching €2 billion by 2025. He sees “double-digit non-IFRS revenue growth in Life Sciences & Healthcare as well as Infrastructure & Cities…”

We’ll learn more as the investor event progresses, but the comments above would imply revenue of as much as €6.5 billion by 2024 — a massive increase from the €4.44 billion to 4.46 billion the company forecasts for 2020. Nothing in the press release about organic versus acquired growth — we’ll have to tune in for the actual session to get that.