Beetle Beats: Finding a SOUND Market for ADT

Case Solution

Kathryn S Savage, Chris Scherpereel, Mason Gerety, Richard Hofstetter
North American Case Research Association (NACRA) ()

Dr. Richard Hofstetter wondered what would become of his Acoustic Disruption Technology (ADT), a technology that uses noise to change the behavior of different species of wood beetles. Initial laboratory tests showed that the adapted sounds would alter the behavior of pine bark beetles, making the insects less likely to attack a tree and generally less likely to survive and reproduce. While the technology was not designed to protect large areas of forest, it was an environmentally friendly way to protect individual trees on private property or high-quality trees in national forests, parks, or other public areas. Unfortunately, the technology wilted in a university research lab, attracting some interest from potential customers but with little financial support for the necessary field tests and development. Dr. Hofstetter really wanted to start field testing and get support for the commercialization of an ADT device. Future decisions, however, hinged on a few key questions: Was this target market large enough to attract third-party funding? If so, was the focus on public, agricultural, or private owners the best option to obtain the money needed to start the project? What type of offer would be most attractive to potential investors?

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