Nebula: The Fall of a Company
This case explores the rise and fall of Nebula Inc., a company that industry experts had originally predicted would become the market leader in the hybrid cloud computing market. In its early days, Nebula seemed like a guaranteed success—the founding team included Chris Kemp, who helped start OpenStack (an open source cloud computing project) during his time at NASA. Top-tier angel and VC investors, including Ted Schlein (Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), Andy Bechtolsheim, and Ram Shriram, backed the company from its onset, and the private cloud computing space appeared to be a hot early-stage market.
Nebula launched the first version of its product in the spring of 2013 to great fanfare. Pent-up excitement about the underlying technology contributed to approximately $1 million in first quarter revenue. Management was thrilled and thought they were the ones who had finally cracked the hybrid cloud market.
However, sales soon began to slow, and many chose to go with competing and older solutions they understood. Through the eyes of Chris Kemp and Gordon Stitt, this case examines how such a hot company, led by founders with impressive backgrounds and supported by some of the most noteworthy investors in Silicon Valley, got lost on its path to success.