Polaris Battery Labs: Startup Risk Management

Case Solution

Russell Walker, Andrew Dilts
Kellogg School of Management ()

Polaris Battery Labs was an Oregon-based startup that provided innovation services to lithium-ion battery companies. Its operating philosophy and experience in this fast-growing industry enabled it to deliver high value to its clients, but as a startup aiming to grow, the company faced multiple risks. For Polaris, it has been a real risk to acquire customers, develop new manufacturing capabilities to meet unproven battery technologies, and even extend credit to its customers. Many of his clients were start-ups and had a high probability of failure. Others were established companies testing new and unproven battery technologies, many of which were unlikely to resonate with the market. The case examines how a technology-driven company manages the risk of collaborating with startups, reclaims the right intellectual property, and develops a sustainable client base.

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