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Eight19 (B) Azuri Technologies

By Jeff Skinner, Tom Ryan


Eight19 is a technology-based start-up company based on Cambridge Science Park. The company is developing a new (and very low cost) solar-panel technology aimed primarily at domestic use in developing countries. The case describes the issues faced by eight19 as it develops a business model for the new technology – in particular balancing competing needs: to generate sufficient revenue to fund operations (and not run out of cash), to generate a sufficient return for investors, to ensure widespread adoption of the system by users by users who cannot afford the up-front costs, to incentivise distributors, to guard against opportunistic behaviour by users, to create loyal users and to build and maintain a positive brand. The case illustrates the importance of the business model (rather than the product per se) and the imperative to build and maintain the ‘social legitimacy’ of a venture in order to assure profitability in the long term.

Learning objectives

  1. Illustrate the differences and the commonalities between charities, social enterprises (SEs) and for-profits.
  2. Understand pricing policies and the extent to which the ‘purpose’ of a business impacts pricing in a free market.
  3. Highlight that, whereas the purpose of a for-profit is to extract maximum value from all players in the value chain and maximise shareholder return, SEs make conscious choices to share value up and down the value chain.
  4. Highlight that being an SE does not automatically translate into lowering prices.
  5. Understand that, to expand in order to impact more people, an SE must generate profits that will enable it to scale.


Publication Date: January 2013
LBS Case Code: CS-13-020-a
Subjects: , , , ,
Geography: ,
Pages: 11
Format: pdf