05 Jul 2022
New Cases - June 2022
We are pleased to share the list of our new case studies published in June 2022!
The star topic of the past month is Entrepreneurship. Three cases (out of seven on the list) explore subjects as varied as -
- the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the dissemination of innovation (Stanley Robotics),
- opportunities arising from the spread of the blockchain technology and decentralized autonomous organizations in particular (Seedcamp),
- the entrepreneurial journey from a small start-up to a major player in the NFT space (Sorare).
Professor Michael Bikard, an INSEAD pioneer of “mini-cases”, has published four short cases - one to three-page scenarios designed to spur discussion in the classroom.
In his new case about Singaporean start-up Shiok Meats, Professor Craig Smith takes readers through the challenges and risks of launching a startup with an ambitious goal – the re-invention of meat production. His cases have won several awards in the ‘sustainability and social responsibility’ category from The Case Centre, oikos, and EFMD.
Professor Pavel Kireyev has published one of the first business school cases to examine the concept of NFTs and explore their potential use in a business-to-business setting.
A background note by Professor Ko Kuwabara explores misunderstandings and misgivings about networking using the analogy of investing versus gambling.
You can read a 'scene setter’ for each of the new cases below.
Sorare: Bringing Fantasy Sports into the Metaverse with NFTs and Blockchain Technology by Pavel Kireyev, Aly Madhavji, Nancy J. Brandwein
Topic Entrepreneurship; Region Europe; Industry Computer Software
Late on a December evening in 2021, the founders of Sorare, Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort, with Growth Lead Brian O’Hagan, were wrapping up an informal strategy meeting. As they gathered up their things, their phones buzzed simultaneously. A Twitter notification from Le Figaro flashed across the screens: “French startup Sorare, one of ten top crypto unicorns to watch in 2022”. Broad smiles flashed on their faces but they looked up at each other with eyebrows raised. There was still a long journey ahead.
Networking is Investing (Not Gambling): Dispelling Misconceptions about Networking by Ko Kuwabara, Jean Wee
What makes a good networker? What does it mean to network well? No one disputes the importance of having a rich network. At a time when knowledge and skillsets are increasingly commoditised, it is hard to imagine getting anything done without building and leveraging a web of professional relationships. The adage “It’s who you know” rings truer than ever. Yet, those awkward handshakes at job fairs and plastic smiles at social mixers remind us how conflicted or ambivalent we often feel about networking.
Topic Strategy; Region Europe; Industry Health, Wellness and Fitness, Insurance
“Isn’t it way too early to go international?” The question had come from an employee, but it could easily have come from an investor or an advisor. Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve, co-founder and CEO of Alan, a digital health insurance provider, had expected the idea to be controversial. After all, the company had only turned three earlier in 2019 and its 25,000 members represented less than 0.01% of the French health insurance market. Clearly, there was still a lot of room for growth at home.
Topic Entrepreneurship; Region Europe
In 2016, the world marvelled at the latest advances in robotics exemplified by Google’s self-driving cars and Boston Dynamics’ viral videos. Yet Clément Boussard, founder and CEO of Paris-based Stanley Robotics, did not feel like celebrating. He knew that for all its promise, the field of robotics was in fact a graveyard for so-called “groundbreaking innovative projects” for small and large firms alike.
Topic Entrepreneurship; Region Europe; Industry Venture Capital
London and Miami, Spring 2022. Web3, Crypto, NFTs, Stablecoin, DeFi – the profusion of neologisms and buzzwords in the tech world (see Figure 1) left little doubt that blockchain technology had finally come of age. Or perhaps it was all hot air. From her home office overlooking the ocean in the South Florida metropolis, Reshma Sohoni was trying to make sense of this craze. Clearly, it was a bubble…or maybe it was something more. Of the myriad ventures being created, some would surely grow to become tomorrow’s tech giants.
Zürich, December 15th, 2021. The sky over the snow-capped mountains was cloudy. From their offices at Generali’s House of InsurTech Switzerland (HITS), Pietro Carnevale and Samyr Mezzour felt disappointed but were undeterred. For years they had been working to convince their colleagues of the importance of decentralized finance (or DeFi) – peer-to-peer financial services using blockchain technology to remove the need for a trusted third party – convinced that it would redefine the insurance world in the next decade. Yet, at the investors’ day meeting that morning, the Italian conglomerate had announced that it saw three technologies of strategic importance for the next three years: artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and 5G. Decentralized finance had not made the cut.
Topic Responsibility; Region Asia; Industry Food and Beverages Production
In the summer of 2021, the co-founder and Group CEO of Shiok Meats, Dr. Sandhya Sriram, saw an opportunity to expand the company’s reach. The Singapore start-up was the first in the world to develop a commercially viable way to grow shrimp meat from stem cells – meat that could be eaten without needing to kill animals. It was a scientific moonshot that Sriram hoped would one day change the way the world eats and contribute to the sustainability of the world’s food systems. Now there was a potential opportunity to acquire another Singapore company that was developing beef made from stem cells. However, much work remained to be done to make either beef or shrimp from cells scalable and economically feasible. Beyond the viability of either approach, the question was whether the acquisition would create synergy or be a distraction.