New Research on the Region

  • August 2018
  • Case

C3 IoT: Driven to Succeed

By: Robert Simons and George Gonzalez

CEO Tom Siebel navigates his Internet-of-Things (IoT) startup through a series of pivots, market expansions, and even an elephant attack to become a leading artificial intelligence software company. The case describes his unusual management approach emphasizing employee testing and selection, customer testing and selection, and a high degree of professionalism.

  • May 2018
  • Case

Managing the Future of Work

By: William R. Kerr, Allison Ciechanover and Jeff Huizinga

Workers, companies, governments, and NGOs face a number of challenges and opportunities as advanced techologies gain traction.

  • April 2018
  • Case

Cisco Systems and OpenDNS: Strategic Integration

By: Andy Wu, George Gonzalez and David Wang

With more than 72,000 employees and revenues approaching the $50B mark, Cisco Systems is one of the largest information technology and networking firms globally. As the company grew and expanded into different lines of businesses, Cisco consistently looked outwards for acquisition targets that could supplement its considerable size and reach. As a follow-up to its well-received $2.7B acquisition of SourceFire in 2013, which seamlessly integrated new cybersecurity offerings into the Security business group, Cisco began conversations with OpenDNS. OpenDNS was a fast-growing start-up with credibility in the cloud security space, but there were also concerns about how its Silicon Valley culture and flat organizational culture would mesh with Cisco’s more staid corporate environment. This case considers the dilemmas that two Cisco executives, Karen Ashley and Dianne Nakanishi, face as they make a final decision about whether and how to acquire and integrate OpenDNS.

  • March 2018
  • Case

GoFundMe: The Giving Layer of the Internet

By: Scott Duke Kominers and Allison M. Ciechanover

By 2017, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform. Gross donation volume is growing rapidly yet the number of monthly campaign starts is relatively flat. The CEO contemplates a variety of growth initiatives.

  • February 2018
  • Case


By: Shawn Cole, Boris Vallée and Nicole Tempest Keller

Founded by a team of hedge fund and NGO alumni, OpenInvest launched its platform in 2015 to enable retail investors to tailor their portfolios to their personal values in an automated way, for instance by screening out weapons manufacturers stocks or overweighting LGBTQ friendly companies, while still closely tracking the overall stock market performance. In 2017, bolstered by $3.25 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, OpenInvest was preparing to launch an app targeted at millennial customers that would include a novel proxy voting feature that allowed clients to vote on shareholder resolutions with a simple swipe. With this technological addition, OpenInvest was well on its way towards realizing its mission of democratizing socially responsible investing, bringing transparency to the financial services market, and enabling retail investors to invest their capital in a way that aligned with their values. However, getting to scale and profitability in the crowded robo-advisors space was a critical challenge. The case closes with the founders contemplating expanding or migrating their model from B2C to B2B in order to achieve scale and profitability faster. The case is an opportunity to discuss the theoretical underpinning of creating impact in public markets, to explore how portfolio performance might be affected by Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) screens, and to understand drivers of demand for impacting investing more broadly. The case also explores the challenges the founders face when aiming to design a new product to meet an emerging need and which distribution channel to choose for doing so.

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California Research Center Team

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