This case deals with the choice of growth strategy for a Chinese IoT (Internet of Things) start-up, Ace Company (Ace). Ace was founded in February 2015 by Ren (CEO), Zhang (CTO), and Jin (CMO), with the initial purpose of solving the pain points of the IoT industry by providing an unprecedented universal IoT operating system. Since its core product, Ace OS 1.0, was officially released in May 2016, more than 10,000 developers have joined Ace’s platform, and dozens of companies have applied Ace’s IoT technologies and solutions. Having proven the technical viability and market acceptability of its offering, Ace has to decide how to scale up, especially as it has received Series A investment of ￥21 million. However, there is a dispute between the CTO and the CEO: Zhang insists on extending Ace’s business to as many industrial scenarios and companies as possible, while Ren insists that Ace should focus on and penetrate deeply into a few industries. Jin is stuck in the middle and wants to know which path they should choose.
The dilemma faced by Ace is typical for a start-up that has succeeded in the entrepreneurial stage and needs to develop a growth strategy. The co-founders have different perspectives and it is hard to reach a consensus. The case also reflects the features of an emerging market (China) and the challenges and opportunities within.
Internet of Things (IoT)