Case ID 17-1044
Published 2017
Industry Code 295
Subject General management

Abstract In 2015, Danish startup SerEnergy A/S (SerEnergy) was ready to bring their methanol fuel cell technology to the market. After 9 years of intense development efforts, the technology proved reliable, the value proposition appeared compelling, and the interest for alternative energy generation systems was increasing across the world. Dr. Korsgaard and Dr. Bang, co-founders and CEO and CTO, respectively, founded SerEnergy in 2006. At that time, they were researchers at Aalborg University (AAU), and they were willing to spin off their R&D activities and market their technology. Capitalizing on a unique corporate culture, R&D capabilities and an emergent strategy, the company had develop clean, convenient and cost-competitive power solutions for the telecom, distributed power generation and transportation industries. Because of rising concerns on climate change, the green tech industry was highly attractive, and only a limited number of players composed the fuel cell industry. Under these circumstances, the co-founders recognized the opportunity of leveraging on SerEnergy’s value proposition and competitive advantage to gain market share and, potentially, create blue oceans. However, scaling up was anticipated to be very costly and, naturally, the co-founders did not have the financial resources to afford such transition. On the one hand, external financing and resource-sharing options including venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and joint ventures (JVs) typically involved losing some degree of control over company decisions. On the other hand, failure to scale up operations was likely to result in missing market opportunities and losing innovativeness. Dr. Korsgaard and Dr. Bang did not know how to proceed.
Pages 27
Teaching Note Yes