Case 1 – Yorktown Technologies
In November 2001, a startup company, Yorktown Technologies, was founded by two gentlemen, Alan Blake and Richard Crockett, with the objective to patent the idea of producing GloFish® genetically modified tropical zebra fish which would fluorescent all the time. Zebra danio fish are native to India. These fish are clear with stripes on them. The objective of these fluorescent fish is to identify water contamination. After further analysis, patenting this idea was not possible as these fishes where already been developed for research. As a result, Crockett and Blake proceeded in modifying their business strategy to license the packaging and reselling of fluorescent fishes to large industry buyers. Yorktown Technologies founders, met with Dr. Ivan Pruchansky who developed the fluorescent zebra fish and had expressed interest in working with the startup. Dr. Pruchansky eventually decided not to work with Yorktown Technologies for various reasons that triggered him, such as environmental community concerns, involving the university on the licensing of his discovery and jeopardizing his academic credibility. After the unsuccessful negotiations with Dr. Pruchansky, Blake and Crockett partnered with National University of Singapore (NUS) as they had developed their own fluorescent fish and expressed interested in commercializing their fish. As a result, an agreement was signed which gave Yorktown Technologies rights to NUS line of fluorescent zebra fish and patent that covered all fluorescent ornament fish in exchange for a 16% royalty fee. This agreement would set Yorktown Technologies on a competitive advantage as competitors enter the market. Blake and Crockett implemented successful fundraising strategies which raised $5 million in preparation for the launch of GloFish® genetically modified tropical zebra fish project. Yorktown Technologies secured two distribution agreements with the largest Florida freshwater ornamental fish producers and distributions in the country, 5-D Tropical and Segrest Farms. Despite the successful efforts in fundraising, Yorktown Technologies first year performance drove a loss of $120,000 compared to the $4 million company surplus projections. Although Yorktown Technologies sales have increased year over year, the main problem in this case is they haven’t reached their geographical targeted audience and facing channel distribution.
Analysis and Evaluation
As various issues have been addressed at Yorktown Technology, Blake and Crockett still need to evaluate the problems which are hindering the growth of the organization to drive long-term sustainable success. We will focus on five key areas to provide Blake and Crockett on what to expect, this includes: marketing environment, consumer market, channel infrastructure, competition and address any ethical concerns. All of this information will be used to provide a recommendation to Yorktown Technologies board of directors. Marketing Environment:
Yorktown Technology faced a variety of environmental challenges, which triggered them to launch their product sooner than planned. There are various environmental agencies which are developing negative publicity of the impacts of genetic fluorescent zebra fish. Negative publicity prohibited Yorktown Technologies in marketing fish to Californian population which historically demonstrated adoption of innovative products. Yorktown has taken action to defend, educate and drive awareness of these fluorescent zebra fish. This effort has been implemented through media, such as television, magazines, newspaper and website. Regardless of the environmental concerns and Dr. Pruchansky’s effort, approval has been granted to market across the country, excluding California. Yorktown Technologies should provide additional report to California government to obtain approval. There is a significant level of market share Yorktown Technologies...
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