Keyssa: Unraveling the Laws of Physics

By Robert Siegel, Ryan Kissick
2016 | Case No. E599 | Length 26 pgs.

“Keyssa: Unraveling the Laws of Physics” explores the challenges associated with growing a start-up around a brand new technology.  In October 2012, Eric Almgren became CEO of Keyssa.  Founded in 2009, Keyssa reinvented the physical connector, an essential component in every computing and mobile device around the globe.  Using a novel technology called Kiss Connectivity, Keyssa enabled contactless, wireless, secure, instant data flows within and between devices, while freeing product designers from the constraints of bulky but fragile metal connectors.

Almgren was confident that this technology would have a huge impact on the next generation of mobile and computing devices.  However, he faced several challenges in his efforts to grow Keyssa.  Specific obstacles addressed include: replacing an existing CEO; raising money in a challenging fundraising environment; aligning on the company’s go-to-market strategy; determining the right approach with regard to industry standards; and assessing opportunities outside of Keyssa’s core computing and mobile markets.  To Almgren and the Keyssa team, there was little doubt about the endless opportunities for Keyssa’s revolutionary technology.  Yet they also knew that it was only a matter of time before competitors would develop market ready products across multiple industries.  Against that backdrop, Keyssa would need to continue innovating for the customers and industries that mattered most.

Learning Objective

Through an in-depth examination of the challenges associated with building a company around a brand new technology, the Keyssa case highlights several learning objectives: 1) Raising money in a complex fundraising environment; 2) Determining an effective go-to-market strategy for a new technology; 3) Protecting a company’s IP in the face of strong competition; 4) Assessing and prioritizing various market opportunities.
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