The students should be able to understand the potential and competitive advantage of community-based business model. The students should be able to familiarise themselves with the concept of entrepreneurship through acquisitions. The students should be able to decide when a firm should use acquisition as a key driver coupled with fewer efforts on organic growth or vice-versa. The student should be able to evaluate the success or failure acquisition as a growth strategy. The student should be able to evaluate the key metrics and other variables in the acquisition of target companies. The students should be able to wear the shoes of the protagonist and resolve the dilemma.
The teaching case looks at the dilemma of Sairee Chahal. Chahal is the founder of SHEROES, an online community for women. SHEROES started as an online career ecosystem for women. As time progressed Chahal witnessed conversations beyond career and moved towards women-centric themes. Chahal decided to pivot it into an online community for women. Her growth strategy for SHEROES has primarily been driven by serial acquisitions coupled with dispersed efforts on organic growth. In the meanwhile, Chahal had harboured an ambition to bring 100 million users to SHEROES by the year 2024. In a period spanning from 2016–2020, SHEROES acquired six niche women-centric companies. SHEROES grew to be a community of 1 million users to 20+million women users by 2020. On the other hand, the industry leader, Mogul used a diametrical approach to grow the platform into 30+million users by 2020. It had primarily used organic growth strategies such as content development, designing courses, referrals and many more. However, Chahal found herself in a dilemma when a reporter posed a question to Chahal. Chahal’s growth strategy depended on acquisitions, coupled with less effort in organic growth. Conversely, Mogul grew primarily via organic growth strategies. The reporter’s question forced her to question and revisit her growth strategies. She wondered if a target of 100 million users could be achieved with the acquisition as a major driver and less effort invested in organic growth or whether it might be better to make organic growth the key growth strategy while pushing acquisitions to the back seat. The uniqueness of the case lies in the female protagonist who is trying to build a larger-than-life community primarily via acquisitions with little effort on organic growth. Such a phenomenon has rarely been explored in teaching cases. The case is based on secondary data and the information is available in the public domain.
Complexity academic level
The case is designed for post-graduate students in the entrepreneurship curriculum. Within entrepreneurship, it is well-suited for use in specialised courses on “growth of an entrepreneurial venture” or “entrepreneurial strategies”. An instructor may take it up in the middle of the module as students would have familiarised themselves with various growth strategies. An instructor may use the case for a very niche course such as entrepreneurship through acquisition. An instructor may take it up as an introductory case in such a course. It can also be used in the executive programme aimed at “women entrepreneurship”, “community-based model” and “serial acquisitions” to teach how women or founders create and grow entrepreneurial ventures with acquisitions or communities as their focal tenet. The case has been tested in the authors’ post-graduate student’s entrepreneurship course. An instructor can use it when the instructor wants to discuss the various growth strategies available to an entrepreneurial firm.
Teaching Notes are available for educators only.
CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.
Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognisable information to protect confidentiality.
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