By Fern Mandelbaum, Julieta Duek, Jessica Morgan
2015 | Case No. E508 | Length 10 pgs.

The case tells the story of Kate Doerksen in her journey as founder and CEO of Ditto, an eyewear e-commerce company that introduced virtual fitting technology. The case covers the period from the founding of the company in 2010 to its situation in December 2012, when the company faced a number of decisions including facing lawsuits from a competitor and a patent troll. This case focuses on the following elements of Doerksen’s story: 1. How Doerksen became interested in starting her own company, built a solid foundation of experiences, and made some key decisions to start Ditto. 2. How Doerksen developed and crafted the idea of building an eyewear e-commerce company powered by virtual fitting technology. 3. The dilemmas that Doerksen faced in her quest for the ideal cofounder(s) of Ditto. 4. Doerksen’s decision to hire her own father, against investors’ advice and how she balanced investors’ needs against organizational needs. 5. The lawsuits against Ditto from 1-800-Contacts and Lennon Imaging Technology, including Doerksen’s way of dealing with the attacks, her perseverance, and innovative approach to keeping the business alive.

Learning Objective

The case seeks to provide students with an example of the experience of a female entrepreneur: her motivations, the successes she achieved, the struggles she overcame, and her decision-making process. The case study highlights a number of issues commonly faced by entrepreneurs and seeks to generate class discussion about these matters.
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