UBits (A): Feed Your Skills
(7 pages of text)
At the start of 2020, the main strategic challenge for UBits (a start-up focused on online corporate training in Latin America) was how to continue to scale up the operation. Although UBits had gained a foothold in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, the company had no presence in Brazil—Latin America’s largest economy—or in any other major regional economies, including Chile and Argentina. UBits was offering only one type of service—subscription-based courses for corporate clients. The management team was contemplating targeting individual customers directly to leverage the growing UBits library that held more than 300 locally produced courses. However, the ideal strategic direction for the company's expansion was unclear, and its current financial situation did not permit pursuing all options.
This case is suitable for courses on entrepreneurship, strategy, international business, or international entrepreneurship at the undergraduate and graduate levels. For entrepreneurship courses, this case can be used to explore challenges related to rapid scaling up and the sustained growth of start-ups, especially in an international context. For strategy and international business courses, the case provides an opportunity to examine concepts such as organizational capability, value proposition, liability of foreignness, and environmental uncertainty in the context of a start-up operating in developing economies. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- analyze competitive advantage and discuss how it hinges on specific strategic assets and capabilities;
- apply the concepts of economies of scale and economies of scope to the analysis of different growth options;
- analyze the key growth indicators and organizational challenges facing a start-up; and
- analyze the importance of a start-up's adaptability to a global crisis.
Brazil; Colombia; Mexico; Peru, Small, 2020
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