Case Solution

Robert F. Higgins, Jacob Broder-Fingert, Eliot Sherman, Sidhartha Palani
Harvard Business School ()

Presents the issues faced while building an innovative company in an emerging space with new intellectual property from the perspective of a venture capitalist. Beth Seidenberg, a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), had helped create iZumi Bio, a company with ambitious prospects which she believed had the potential to become “the” definitive stem cell company. iZumi sought to bring under its banner key intellectual property (IP) from the nascent field of stem cell technology. As such, iZumi would need to acquire the rights to several groundbreaking scientific developments that had recently occurred in labs around the world. Seidenberg needed to decide whether to commit to the next major tranche of the investment. Tasked with completing his decision in less than 24 hours, Seidenberg weighed the pros and cons of the next round of funding. Was it really possible to bring such a wide range of intellectual property together under one roof? Was the international IP mix too unwieldy? Was it too early to successfully commercialize stem cell technology?

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