New Research on the Region

  • July 2019
  • Case

Instabeat - One More Lap?

By: Shikhar Ghosh, Nicole Tempest Keller and Alpana Thapar

This case follows Lebanese entrepreneur, Hind Hobeika, an engineer and competitive swimmer who spends seven years trying to launch a wearable heartrate monitor and motion sensor to help swimmers track their performance while swimming. While the Beirut-based entrepreneur gained initial traction soon after founding her company Instabeat in September 2011, winning $150,000 in prize money from business plan competitions and raising $100,000 from a local venture capital firm, Hobeika soon faced a series of set-backs in trying to manufacture the product. Given the complexity of the hardware product she was trying to build, Hobeika had invested a significant amount of capital in the manufacturing design and had faced continuous delays. In addition, the product was not proving to be economically viable. By early 2016, Hobeika was out of money and had to let her team go. The business issues had also taken a toll on her personal life. However, Hobeika saw a potential path forward. The VC who had originally backed her was closing a new round of funding and was willing to discuss another potential round. More importantly, while in London, she had recently met Alex Asseily, a prominent Lebanese-British entrepreneur who encouraged her to stay the course. He suggested that she relocate to San Francisco, where he would soon be based, and offered to help her. Would it be worthwhile to leave everything behind, relocate, and rebuild the business? Hobeika had to decide—should she continue or not? If so, under what circumstances? If not, what would she do next?

  • May 2019
  • Case

The United States Air Force: 'Chaos' in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron

By: Francesca Gino, Jeff Huizinga and Nicole Keller

In the spring of 2019, Lt. Col. Matthew 'Chaos' Nussbaum is nearing the end of his two-year term as commander of the U.S. Air Force's 99th Reconnaissance Squadron. In this position, he has focused the majority of his energy on finding new ways to organize, train and equip the unit, whose mission is to execute and sustain U-2 operations globally. Nussbaum's methods empowered individuals within the squadron, and enabled them to achieve much that people familiar with the Department of Defense previously considered impossible. Yet with progress came risk, and costs. This case considers how breakthroughs were made, examines the role leadership played, and asks how Nussbaum's approach can both be sustained in the 99th and more widely applied throughout the Air Force.

  • April 2019
  • Teaching Material

Upwork in 2019

By: David Yoffie and Allison M. Ciechanover

Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of Upwork, the leading platform for freelance labor, updates his progress on how to redesign its business model in 2019.

  • April 2019
  • Case

Ripple: The Business of Crypto

By: David B. Yoffie and George Gonzalez

The case explores Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s mission to disrupt the global payments industry by leveraging the cryptocurrency XRP. Students will learn about Bitcoin and the blockchain industry, as well as Ripple’s unique crypto business model. The case provides an opportunity to navigate the areas of distributed technology, platforms, regulation, and global payments, from the perspective of a San Francisco software startup with over $20 billion in digital assets.

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California Research Center Team

Allison Ciechanover
Executive Director
George Gonzalez
Senior Researcher
Jeffrey Huizinga
Senior Researcher
Nicole Keller
Senior Researcher