Alfie: Working Out a Virtual Fitness Concierge Platform
(7 pages of text)
Alfie.fit (Alfie) was a Montreal-based consumer software technology start-up that offered a virtual fitness concierge service for time-strapped people who wanted to keep fit, no matter their busy schedule. The Alfie platform helped personal trainers and trainees connect and interact with each other and supported the management of the transaction between them. However, Alfie faced several challenges, including the common chicken-or-egg problem of value-added intermediaries in their entry phase. As Alfie celebrated its one-year anniversary of being officially available to the public, the founders needed to make strategic decisions regarding the platform’s design, scope, and future direction.
The case focuses on the challenges associated with designing and managing a multi-sided platform (MSP)—a business that focuses on enabling value-creating interactions between interdependent constituents. The case is designed for courses in the domains of strategy and digital strategy at the undergraduate, graduate, or executive level. It can also be used in a graduate or undergraduate course involving the topics of entrepreneurship (especially digital entrepreneurship), digital strategy, digitally-enabled industry transformation, and MSP business model design and development. After working through the case, students will be able to do the following:
- Understand and apply the foundational concepts associated with MSPs (e.g., sides, value unit, filters, core interaction, search cost, network effects, critical mass).
- Understand the role of industry context (e.g., size/growth, fragmentation, information asymmetry, technology advantage) in the success of an MSP.
- Become familiar with the key challenges associated with the building of successful MSPs, including attracting interdependent sides, supporting their interactions, and enabling quality matches.
- Learn about strategies that can help address the challenges MSPs face, which relate to making vital choices with regard to which user group(s) to support, which functionalities and services to offer, and which filtering and transaction support mechanisms to design.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
Canada, Small, 2018
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