Ele.me: The Entrepreneur's Growth Dilemma
(6 pages of text)
In June 2014, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the fast-growing, Shanghai-based online food ordering and delivery service ele.me, was wrestling with multiple growth-related questions. He had lofty ambitions for his venture but was facing the first major competitive threat in the form of a diversifying entrant. In the face of this threat, and with his inexperience as a business manager, he was unsure about how quickly to try to scale up the business, and how exactly he should implement his growth plan for ele.me. The company’s success had attracted considerable venture capital financing. Should the company seek growth by sending head office managers to new regional offices, by hiring local regional managers and staff, or by franchising the brand in target cities?
This case can be used in MBA-level or advanced undergraduate classes in courses on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial growth, strategy, and information systems. Its objectives are to:
- Debate the advantages and disadvantages of rapid entrepreneurial growth (scale).
- Determine how growth can be realized.
- Show how technology can be used to scale a start-up into a large, successful company.
- Draw attention to long-term strategic aspects of entrepreneurial growth in the context of a new Chinese online-to-offline venture.
Accommodation & Food Services
China, Small, 2014
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