Branch Metrics: "Failing" into the Idea

By Fern Mandelbaum, Susan Pohlmeyer
2015 | Case No. E586 | Length 16 pgs.

This case explores the Branch Metrics’ cofounders’ early days as a team and their pursuit of a viable idea for their startup. The three original cofounders, who met in business school, transformed their business concept entirely several times before finding the idea for Branch Metrics. Starting with a fitness collar for dogs, then starting over with developing a mobile application for low-cost, high-quality photobooks, and ultimately developing a deep app linking solution for mobile developers, the team experienced multiple setbacks and product failures in their first two years as a team. The case explores the lessons learned through these failures, including how to find product-market fit, staying together as a team, maintaining investor relationships, facing burnout, and having difficult conversations.

Learning Objective

1. Explore what makes a strong co-founding team, what factors help a team to survive failure together, and when it does or does not make sense for a team to stay together when a start-up idea changes direction. 2. Distinguish between personal failure and idea failure, and understand the factors that contribute to each. 3. Discuss the process of finding product-market fit, particularly the trade off between “hacking” for short-term solutions versus building a business that can scale over the long term.
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