Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2001 (Revised October 2006)

Smartix (A): Dancing with Elephants

by Donald N. Sull, James K. Sebenius and Noam Wasserman


This case describes issues facing the founder-CEO of a high-tech start-up in Boston, as he negotiates with multiple large potential partners and investors. The negotiations include a potential business partnership with FleetCenter and Madison Square Garden, and a potential investment from two large venture capital firms. The case focuses on the sequencing among the parties, how to resolve conflicting interests among the parties, and the issues facing small entrepreneurial firms trying to negotiate with very large and powerful investors and business partners.

Keywords: Technology; Venture Capital; Negotiation; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Power and Influence; Technology Industry; Boston;


Sull, Donald N., James K. Sebenius, and Noam Wasserman. "Smartix (A): Dancing with Elephants." Harvard Business School Case 902-156, November 2001. (Revised October 2006.)