Ana Barrera has worked for nearly five years building the personal finance startup Aflore as a part of the first cohort of Bogota, Colombia-based incubator Polymath Ventures. Even as Barrera and her team build a customer base within Colombia’s population of “unbanked” citizens, they must overcome some challenges in their working relationship with the Polymath incubator. They must also decide if they should bank on the strength of their original person-to-person marketing network, or if they should prioritize new smart phone capabilities.
TOPICS: Consumer marketing, Distribution, Entrepreneurship, Fund raising, Global corporate cultures, Leadership teams, Peer relationships, Personal selling, Rapid growth stage, Social networks
This case is a sequel to "Polymath Ventures: Building an International Incubator"
Former triathlete Caue Suplicy knew the importance of healthy foods. After he observed US entrepreneurs and major CPG players capitalize on “superfoods” from his native Brazil to build huge brands, he thought he spotted an opportunity to do the same with one of his favorite snacks from childhood: dried bananas. As he developed his new venture, Barnana, Suplicy discovered the massive amount of “waste” green bananas in international supply chains, structuring Barnana’s production systems so the company could upcycle fruit that would otherwise be discarded. Barnana’s first successful lines in the sweet snack category are followed up with potential megahits in the salty snack arena—but the new offerings may stretch the company’s organic supply chain to its limit.
TOPICS: Buzz marketing, Green marketing, Rapid-growth stage, Succession planning, Supply chain sustainability
In this immersive exercise, ChekAbuse, a family-run medical startup focused on anti-addiction treatments, is in the spotlight. The company and its employees face an array of strategic and ethical challenges—conflicts regarding the division of equity, individual responsibilities, and the management of their corporate reputation. Students will step into the shoes of the ChekAbuse characters as they attempt to plot a successful course for the company and look out for their own interests.
TOPICS: Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Startups
Chewse, a venture-backed food delivery company founded by Tracy Lawrence, has attributed its success to its corporate culture. Calling itself a “love company,” Chewse has strived to build the kind of corporate catering company that could help ensure that no employee eats alone. Lawrence must consider potential geographic expansion plans in light of her goal to maintain and build on her company’s “love culture.”
TOPICS: Computer software, Employee-employer expectations, Entrepreneurship, Global corporate cultures, Managerial behavior, Organizational management, Rapid growth stage, Strategy, Values
An aspiring entrepreneur wrestles with the challenges of balancing a full-time job and his work on new ventures. Now, he looks to fully embrace the life of an entrepreneur as he pursues a new app concept to make professional networking more efficient. Is he following the right path—professionally and personally?
TOPICS: Career planning, Concept stage, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Personal characteristics, Startup stage, Work history
In the middle of the 2020 COVID crisis, Maryam Garg looks to grow her premium mask business. She struggles to figure out which suppliers to use and how to build a reliable relationship with them. Students examine different criteria for making that choice, including Maryam’s personal motivations and goals—as well as the strategic landscape, cost, communication and trust. The case explores decision-making in the context of lifestyle entrepreneurship and in highly volatile competitive environments.
TOPICS: Startups, Business Models, Strategy, Suppliers, Partner Selection
Online marketplaces confront the challenge of the “Penguin Problem,” i.e. how to attract their first users and leverage network effects. Susan Spender puzzles over how to get started with her platform business connecting pet owners to pet enthusiasts who perform small tasks, such as feeding and dog walking. She and her team examine four popular platform companies – Eventbrite, GrubHub, Instacart, and TaskRabbit – and learn from their startup strategies. By comparing and contrasting the four companies, students explore a series of possible approaches for tackling this crucial issue of platform entrepreneurship and differentiate which strategy works for which company/industry. The “Platform Business Model Canvas” helps them identify the key elements of platform entrepreneurship and see how they are interrelated.
TOPICS: Platforms, Networks, Startups, Business Models, Technology
Relativity Space, a Southern California startup in the booming commercial spaceflight sector, is leveraging 3-D printing technology in the manufacture of small and responsive space launch rockets. From 2016 to 2019, Relativity’s young founders, Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, raised over $175 million, built an organization and established the capacity to print an entire rocket. However, when competition in the market for small satellite launch systems heats up, the duo must decide how they can best use their technology and adapt to the changing marketplace.
TOPICS: Change management, Customer acquisition, Investors, Market segmentation, Stakeholders, Startup, Strategy
The case describes challenges and possible responses for Swoop, a group transportation platform that started as a tiny operation and became a growing company with approximately $10 million in annual revenue. In March, 2020, Swoop was poised for major expansion, signing up a significant fleet of vehicles and attracting a large customer base—until the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation. The company faces numerous challenges in business development, financing and hiring that could end its successful run if not handled appropriately. Swoop partners Ruben Schultz, Peter Evenson, and Amir Ghorbani must decide how to navigate the bumpy road ahead.
TOPICS: Startups, Startup financing, Hiring and recruitment, Diversity, Software Development, Adaptive Leadership, Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery
Enhance the learning experience with the case supplement "Swoop in the Era of Coronavirus," which examines how the founders adapt to the challenging new environment in the travel industry and the overall economy.
Students engagement in their learning process drives better performance and higher information retention. The use of Instagram in the classroom provides new tools to boost engagement and facilitate learning with new generations of students. In this note, we show how to use Instagram’s large set of photo and video features to create engaging and interactive content to pair with the standard coursework both inside and outside the classroom.
TOPICS: Faculty & students, Social media, Teaching methods
Voyager Search is a rapidly growing company in the enterprise search and geospatial information systems (GIS) industry. Although headquartered in Southern California, it achieved early success with an entirely virtual and global workforce. As a small company, the founders navigated the challenges and opportunities of managing a virtual team, from corporate culture to competitive advantages. However, as the company expands from 20 to 40 employees, the founders must assess whether the company is outgrowing its virtual structure.
TOPICS: Computer software, Entrepreneurship, Global corporate cultures, Organizational behavior, Organizational management, Strategy, Telecommuting, Virtual companies
Coming soon: Ivey Publishing