True North: Pioneering Analytics, Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence

Case Solution

Karim R. Lakhani, Kairavi Dey, Hannah Mayer
Harvard Business School ()

True North was a private equity fund specializing in the growth and acquisition of Indian-oriented midsize companies. The executive team initially believed that technology was not critical to traditional businesses and steered clear of new-age technology-driven companies. Then, in 2007, True North invested in Meru Cabs, a ride-sharing service with a growing taxi fleet that had to change its business model with the introduction of technology-based platforms like Uber. This experience led True North to significantly change its stance on the importance of technology-based business models. The team learned that all companies had to become technology companies effectively to remain relevant. True North started the project “Analytics, algorithms and artificial intelligence” (3A). A system called Kelp was designed and developed in-house to facilitate True North’s transformation into an IAfirst company based on the adoption of data-driven digital decision-making tools and improved productivity. In 2020, when various elements of algae were introduced, the leadership team met to discuss the future of this technology.

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