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Pebble Technology Corporation: from dorm room dream to high tech pioneer

William D. Schneper (Department of Business, Organizations and Society, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA)
Colin Martin (Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA)

The CASE Journal

ISSN: 1544-9106

Publication date: 2 July 2018

Abstract

Synopsis

Pebble Technology Corporation (Pebble) was an early entrant into the smartwatch industry. Pebble’s Founder, Eric Migicovsky, began thinking about creating a smartwatch in 2008 while still an undergraduate engineering student. After selling about 1,500 prototype watches, he was accepted into Silicon Valley’s prestigious Y Combinator business start-up program. Finding it difficult to attract investors, Migicovsky launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised a record-breaking $10.27m on Kickstarter. The case concludes shortly after Apple’s unveiling of its soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. The case provides an opportunity to evaluate Pebble’s various strategic options at the time of Apple’s announcement.

Research methodology

The authors observed over 30 h of video and audio recordings of speeches, interviews and other events involving Pebble’s founder, other Pebble executives, investors and competitors. These recordings are all publicly available. Whenever possible, the authors also reviewed the Twitter feeds, Facebook sites and personal websites of Pebble’s top executives over time. Similarly, the authors followed Pebble’s official website, corporate blog and Kickstarter campaign websites. The authors also drew from numerous media reports. Due to the public nature of the data, no company release is provided nor has any information been disguised in any way.

Relevant courses and levels

The case is designed for both undergraduate and graduate students for courses in strategic management.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Alan Glazer, Cynthia Krom, John Lawrence, Rebecca Morris, Jeff Nesteruk, Lisa Schneper, Bryan Stinchfield, the two anonymous reviewers and the participants of the Embryo Case Workshop at the 2015 NACRA Conference in Orlando, Florida for their comments, advice, encouragement and assistance.

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 recognizable information to protect confidentiality.

Citation

Schneper, W.D. and Martin, C. (2018), "Pebble Technology Corporation: from dorm room dream to high tech pioneer", The CASE Journal, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 427-476. https://doi.org/10.1108/TCJ-09-2017-0084

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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