Altair Engineering

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Altair Engineering, Inc.
NasdaqALTR (Class A)
Russell 2000 Component
FoundersJames R. Scapa
George Christ
Mark Kistner
HeadquartersTroy, Michigan, United States
Key people
James R. Scapa (Chairman/CEO)
Matthew Brown (CFO)[1]
RevenueUS$469.9 million (2018)[3]
Number of employees
Altair is headquartered in Troy, Michigan.

Altair Engineering Inc. is an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Troy, Michigan. It provides software and cloud solutions for simulation, IoT, high performance computing (HPC), data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). Altair Engineering is the creator of the HyperWorks CAE software product, among numerous other software packages and suites. The company was founded in 1985 and went public in 2017. It is traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the stock ticker symbol ALTR.


Altair Engineering was founded in 1985 by James R. Scapa, George Christ, and Mark Kistner in Troy, Michigan. Since the company's outset,[5] Scapa has served as its CEO (and now chairman).[6] Initially, Altair started as an engineering consulting firm,[7] but soon branched out into product development and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software.[8] In the 1990s, it became known for its software products like HyperWorks, OptiStruct,[9] and HyperMesh,[10] which were often used for product development by the automotive industry.[11][12] Some of Altair's early clients included the Ford Motor Company, General Motors,[8] and Chrysler.[13] Its software also aided in the development of the Young America[14] and AmericaOne racing yachts,[8] the former of which was used to compete in the 1995 America's Cup.[14]

Its software also found uses in other sectors, including aerospace (NASA),[15] aviation (Airbus),[9] consumer electronics (Nokia),[15] and toy manufacturing (Mattel), among others.[8] In 2002, Altair software aided in the design of the Airbus A380 by weight optimizing the aircraft wing ribs.[9] That year, the company moved into a new headquarters in Troy, Michigan.[5] It maintained separate offices in Allen Park, Michigan.[16] Also in 2002, Altair opened offices in Seongnam, South Korea and Shanghai, China,[17] adding those locales to its international footprint alongside India where it had begun investment in 1992.[10]

In addition to its software production, Altair continued hiring out engineering consultants to its corporate clientele.[8] Its consultancy services accounted for the majority of the company's revenue until 2004, when the sale and licensing of software overtook that.[18] In October of that year, General Atlantic invested $30 million in Altair.[19] Also in 2004, Altair partnered with General Motors and the United States Department of Defense on the design and construction of a new military vehicle.[20]

Altair also branched out into the life sciences, finance, and pharmaceutical industries with its high performance computing software, PBS Pro,[18] which it had acquired the rights to in 2003.[21] In June 2006, Altair acquired the French CAE software company, Mecalog, and its Radioss technology suite.[18] In 2007, it spun off a new wholly-owned subsidiary called ilumisys, which would focus on light-emitting diode (LED) lamps[22] designed to be used as direct replacements for fluorescent light tubes. Ilumisys' operations were moved to Michigan in 2011,[23] and it was rebranded as TOGGLED in 2012.[24]

In the early 2010s, Altair's product design division (Altair ProductDesign) began creating prototypes of various vehicles including a hydraulic hybrid transit bus known as BUSolution[25] and an electric concept car called the Avant GT.[26] By 2013, the company had offices in 19 countries worldwide and 1,800 employees.[27] That year, it also bought out General Atlantic's equity stake in the company.[28]

On November 1, 2017, Altair went public with an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange and began trading under the stock ticker symbol ALTR. The company raised $156 million with share prices starting at $13.[28] In the years leading up to the IPO, Altair acquired 11 different companies with strategic assets and expertise in fields like material science, electronics, industrial design, rendering, and others.[10] By 2019, the company had acquired a total of 30 businesses or business units. It also began making efforts to incorporate artificial intelligence technology into its new software packages.[6] That year, it opened a new office in Greensboro, North Carolina after acquiring the data analytics company, Datawatch, which had offices in the area.[29]

In June 2020, the company announced that it would be providing software updates for all of its products. The updates were implemented to improve workflows and provide access to a broader set of tools for data analytics, machine learning, and physics.[30] In January 2021, Altair announced that it would collaborate with Rolls-Royce Holdings on a project that would use AI and machine learning to facilitate the design process.[31]


Altair develops software and cloud solutions in the areas of simulation, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI).[29] One of its first software suites was HyperWorks, a CAE environment that incorporates finite element analysis, modeling, and simulation. Altair OptiStruct, another flagship product, is a topology optimization tool that provides structural analysis and performance validation. Altair SimSolid is a meshless structural analysis tool. Altair Knowledge Works is another software product that allows users to pull data from a variety of sources, transform it, and make machine learning models based on it.[30][31] Altair PBS Works is a workload management tool that leverages high-performance computing.[32] Altair also offers its customers access to software applications from over 55 different software companies through its Altair Partner Alliance.[33] Additional products include SmartWorks, an IoT product development solution; HyperMesh, a finite element pre-processor; Panopticon, a data visualization and monitoring software; and Altair One, a collaboration platform to access all Altair’s simulation, HPC, and data analytics solutions.[34][35]

Corporate acquisitions[edit]

Since 1985, Altair has acquired over 30 businesses, business units, and software packages.[6] The following is a list of selected corporate acquisitions:

Year Company Business type Location Ref.
2006 Mecalog Group CAE software Antony, France [18]
2008 solidThinking Industrial design software Vicenza, Italy [36]
2010 SimLab Corporation Feature-based modeling technology Rancho Santa Margarita, California [37]
2011 Acusim Software, Inc. Computational fluid dynamics technology Mountain View, California [38]
2014 EM Software & Systems (EMSS) Electromagnetic solutions Stellenbosch, South Africa [39]
Visual Solutions, Inc. Mathematical modeling, simulation, and model-based embedded system development Westford, Massachusetts [40]
2017 MODELiiS Electronic design automation (EDA) technology Grenoble, France [41]
2018 SimSolid Structural analysis simulation Mississauga, Ontario, Canada [6]
Datawatch Corporation Data analytics technology Bedford, Massachusetts [6]
2019 Polliwog Co. EDA technology Seoul, South Korea [42]
SEAM Software
(from Cambridge Collaborative)
Noise and vibration predictive technology Concord, Massachusetts [43]
2020 newFASANT Computational and high-frequency electromagnetics Alcalá de Henares, Spain [44]
WRAP Software
(from WRAP International)
Spectrum management and radio network planning Sweden [45]
Univa Workload management, scheduling, HPC, and AI Hoffman Estates, Illinois [46]
2021 Flow Simulator
(from GE Aviation)
Flow, heat transfer, and combustion design software Evendale, Ohio [47]
S-FRAME Software Structural analysis and design software British_Columbia, Canada [48]


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  14. ^ a b McKesson, Mike (6 April 1995). "Ford finds a place in the water". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
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  16. ^ Bennett, Jeff (26 June 2001). "A good taste of diversity". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  17. ^ Moore, Roberta (24 June 2002). "Altair expands to Korea, China". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  18. ^ a b c d "From humble beginnings come Big things". The Oakland Press. 6 August 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  19. ^ Dietderich, Andrew (27 June 2006). "Altair Engineering to acquire French company". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Altair Engineering To Present Military Vehicle to Media". The Auto Channel. 9 November 2004. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Altair Engineering Acquires Rights To PBS Pro Software". MI Tech News. 10 March 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  22. ^ Szczesny, Joseph (1 May 2007). "Altair spins off subsidiary". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  23. ^ Yung, Katherine (29 August 2010). "Emerging light market a good fit for state". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Altair LED Lighting Subsidiary Ilumisys Rebrands as TOGGLED". WWJ-TV. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  25. ^ Barry, Keith (9 November 2011). "New Hybrids Will Pump it Up". Wired. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  26. ^ Ashe, Suzanne (16 September 2011). "Altair ProductDesign joins Studio X-Gene on Avant GT concept". CNET. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  27. ^ "James R. Scapa reorganizes Altair Engineering Inc. on a yearly basis to keep it moving forward". Smart Business Online. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  28. ^ a b Roof, Katie (1 November 2017). "Altair Engineering soars 41% in public debut". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  29. ^ a b Warfield, Andy (14 October 2019). "Tech company taking more space in Triad downtown building". Triad Business Journal. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  30. ^ a b Saini, Ruchika (8 June 2020). "Altair announces software updates for its entire line of products". Graphic Speak. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  31. ^ a b Fretty, Peter (9 March 2021). "Rolls-Royce and Altair Collaboration Leverages AI". IndustryWeek. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  32. ^ "Huawei to Resell Altair PBS Works for High-Performance Computing". Digital Engineering 247. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  33. ^ Shah, Pradeep (29 August 2019). "Altair working on a new lightweight architecture for EVs: In conversation with Vishwanath Rao". Financial Express. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  34. ^ "Meshing Gets a Makeover with Next-Generation HyperWorks". Engineering.
  35. ^ "Altair in Troy Debuts New Platform to Streamline High-performance Computing". Detroit Business.
  36. ^ Frausto-Robledo, Anthony (24 July 2008). "solidThinking acquired by Altair Engineering, releases version 7.6 globally". Architosh. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  37. ^ "Michigan company buys O.C. software firm". Orange County Register. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Altair Engineering buys Acusim Software". Silicon Valley Business Journal. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  39. ^ "Altair acquires EM Software & Systems". Scientific Computing. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  40. ^ "Altair To Acquire Mass. Modeling Software Maker". TechCentury. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  41. ^ "Altair acquires MODELiiS". Scientific Computing. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  42. ^ "Altair Acquires Polliwog Co. Ltd, Growing Software Toolset for EDA". Microwave Journal. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  43. ^ Gavine, Adam (13 April 2019). "Altair expands solver portfolio with SEAM acquisition". Vehicle Dynamics International. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  44. ^ "Altair Acquires newFASANT, Expanding High Frequency EM Portfolio". Microwave Journal. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  45. ^ "Altair Acquires WRAP Software". FinSMEs. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  46. ^ Miller, Ben (14 September 2020). "Hoffman Estates computer company Univa purchased by Altair". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  47. ^ Lahiri, Anusuya (24 February 2021). "Altair Acquires Flow Simulator From GE Aviation For Undisclosed Terms". Yahoo!. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  48. ^ Nehls, Grace. "Altair acquires structural analysis and design software, S-FRAME Software". CompositesWorld. Retrieved 1 September 2021.

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