MBA Entrepreneurs: Crowdfunding Wipebook

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CASE STUDY. The Wipebook case follows a start-up company over a two-year period.
The company originated from a product idea proposed by a student as part of an MBA entrepreneurship course: an erasable, reusable notebook.

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Description

Abstract

The Wipebook case follows a start-up company over a two-year period. The company originated from a product idea proposed by a student as part of an MBA entrepreneurship course: an erasable, reusable notebook. Two other students joined him in what was to become the “Wipebook” project. Twelve months into the project, the team had realized one of the most successful crowd-funding campaigns in Canadian history: $424,314 for over 10,000 pre-orders. The partners then went on to appear on a television show, Dragons’ Den, where they accepted an offer of $300,000 for a 25% stake in the company. As the reality of the entrepreneurial process set in, following the initial euphoria, a number of challenges arose. This case is also available in French.

Teaching Objectives

(1) Introduce students to new entrepreneurship approaches: value proposition design; lean start-up; crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter. (2) Help students understand the importance of the start-up team: selection and composition; resolving legal issues before they become problems; managing relationships (and the importance of geography).

Main themes covered

(1) New entrepreneurial approaches: (a) value proposition design; (b) lean start-up; and (c) design thinking (2) The importance of the entrepreneurial team for start-ups. This case promotes discussion of several important topics: team composition, structure and leadership, conflict resolution, and the importance of corporate governance, even in the early stages of a venture.

Concepts and theories related to the case

Value proposition design, Lean start-up, Crowdfunding

Three part case

Part A: Year One: Persistence and Success

Part B: Year Two: Growth and Obstacles (only included with the « Enseignement par professeur » license)

Part C: Epilogue (only included with the « Enseignement par professeur » license)

Additionnal information

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Contact HEC’s Case Centre for more information.

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