Pivot Survival Tactics from Kabam’s 3 Near-Death Triumphs

Kabam’s story is pretty well known. In a Cinderella story twist, the social network-turned-sports-turned-gaming company weathered three major pivots in 10 years to ultimately sell for $800 million. This is pretty much unheard of. But there’s a big chunk of this unlikely tale that hasn’t been told — how they managed to pull it off. In this exclusive interview, Co-founder and CEO Kevin Chou shares … [ Read more ]

The Inside Story Behind the Unlikely Rise of Airbnb

In 2007 Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were broke and looking to raise money to make their rent in San Francisco. They decided to rent out air mattresses in their apartment to attendees of a conference because all the hotels were booked. They called their service “Air Bed and Breakfast.” In a few years, this small experiment would create the hotel industry disruptor Airbnb. The … [ Read more ]

A Broken Place: The Spectacular Failure Of The Startup That Was Going To Change The World

With almost $1 billion in funding and ambitions to replace petroleum-based cars with a network of cheap electrics, Shai Agassi’s Better Place was remarkable even by the standards of world-changing startups. So was its epic failure. A 21st-century cautionary tale.

Will Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley Finally Get It Right?

After 10 years, eight South by Southwests, two startups, and zero dollars in profit, will Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley ever find his way?

Monitor110: A Post Mortem

Roger Ehrenberg, the co-founder of Monitor110 offers up an analysis of the failure of that company, including what he calls the “seven deadly sins”:
1. The lack of a single, “the buck stops here” leader until too late in the game
2. No separation between the technology organization and the product organization
3. Too much PR, too early
4. Too much money
5. Not close enough to the customer
6. Slow … [ Read more ]

Extending the “easy” Business Model: What Should easyGroup Do Next?

Its signature orange logo has made the “easy” brand one of the most recognizable in Europe – a stunning feat given that easy made its debut as recently as 1995. What began with easyJet has expanded to include easyCar and easyInternet. Now the company’s New Ventures Team must decide whether the no-frills, low-cost concept can be successfully applied to movie theatres, explains Professor … [ Read more ]

Gary Heavin Is On a Mission From God

His goal: To single-handedly save the world’s women from obesity. With Curves, he seems to be pulling it off. And he’s built a billion-dollar business along the way.

How Richard Branson Works Magic

Though more known for his legendary publicity stunts, Richard Branson has led Virgin Group to success with a singular, flamboyant style. Learn the secret of how he tackles the big bad wolves of many industries.

Ruben Vardanian at the Helm of Troika Dialog

Ruben Vardanian, CEO of Troika, is a “Golden Boy of Russian capitalism”. Unlike his fellow members of the Russian oligarchs’ club, Vardanian started from scratch and climbed upwards. This case, Ruben Vardanian at the Helm of Troika Dialog by Stanislav Shekshnia, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD with Manfred Kets de Vries, Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Professor of Human Resource Management at INSEAD scrutinizes Vardanian’s … [ Read more ]

The Whistle InterJet: The First Internet Appliance for Small-to-Medium Size Businesses (A, B & C)

To overcome sales growth problems in the US, California-based, venture capital-backed start-up Whistle Communications looks at developing a number of strategic partnerships in Asia. While the product (the first Internet appliance for small-to-medium size businesses) attracts interest from numerous high-profile companies, Whistle must weigh the short-term gains against its long-term goals. Professor Ha Hoang and Michel Darnaud explain more in this new Case Study … [ Read more ]

Larry Ellison: A Samurai Warrior in Silicon Valley

Sex, death and dominance. One may say that these are the major themes of Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s life. But the headline-grabbing bad-boy image often overshadows a stark reality: the man is a brilliant entrepreneur, who created the world’s second-largest software company. Professor Manfred Kets de Vries and Elizabeth Florent-Treacy pick up the story in this new case.

CargoExchange.Net Pte Ltd

Nearly every entrepreneur faces this dilemma at one point or another: continue borrowing to keep the company afloat or face reality, pay out creditors, and call it a day. For Singaporean serial entrepreneur, Marianna Tan, the day of reckoning came in February 2001. As Professor Michael Pich and Mei Qi explain in this recent case, Tan’s company, CargoExchange.Net Pte Ltd, had just enough … [ Read more ]

Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products, NV: Financing from Start-up through IPO

In 1995, Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (L&H) was poised for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ, home to industry heavyweights like Microsoft and Intel. If the IPO were to be successful, L&H would be the first Belgian company ever to list on the venerable stock exchange. For L&H, the IPO was a key milestone in its remarkable history. Since … [ Read more ]

Log On America

In this case study, Professors Pierre Hillion and Theo Vermaelen use Log On America’s decision to issue a floating-price convertible preferred stock to discuss optimal capital structure. You are asked to compare this financial innovation with alternatives such as equity financing, debt financing and convertibles with a fixed conversion price. Then you’re asked to support (or undermine) the legal case of LOA against the banks … [ Read more ]

The House that Branson Built: Virgin’s Entry Into the New Millennium

Anyone can make music, but when the orchestral baton rests in the hands of someone like Richard Branson (entrepreneur of the Virgin Group), the resulting sound is more than musical – it’s magical. INSEAD Professor Manfred Kets de Vries examines the inner-workings of this successful entrepreneur and the evolution of Virgin – from one leader to more “systematic” management.

The Rocky Road from Startup to Big-Time Player: Biogen’s Triumph Against the Odds

How does a fledgling company become an industry powerhouse? By managing itself professionally and betting on the right products. The case of Biogen shows how it can be done.