From Boom to Bust - the happier.com story

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An invited presentation to Harvard Business School (HBS) Class of 2012, Section C. Total time: 15 minutes. Describes work background and history, pivot to build a consumer product, development of happier.com and being part of the failure of the company. Note: Slides are only presented as illustrative of actual talk given.

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From Boom to Bust - the happier.com story

  1. 1. From Boom to Bust – the happier.com story<br />Andrew J. Rosenthal 28 March 2011<br />
  2. 2. Context and Timeframe<br />2<br />2002-2006: working in psychology, with expert<br />2006: graduation + begin working w/investor group<br />2006-2007: B2B sales, licensing<br />Few clients, going broke<br />Stagnant, poor products<br />2008: Make case to pivot<br />2008: Develop consumer product<br />
  3. 3. Summer 2008: Launch<br />3<br />happier.com: a personal trainer for your happiness<br />Targeted audience: women who watch the Today Show<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />Data-driven user feedback, machine learning<br />
  5. 5. Focus on Learning<br />5<br />Over 100 exclusive videos<br />blog.happier.com<br />
  6. 6. Focus on Doing<br />6<br />
  7. 7. happier.com — Growing quickly<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Capital Table / Board Issues<br />30+ angel investors<br />Foundations, individuals<br />~$200-300k investments (warrants)<br />Smart money<br />Investor alignment<br />Incentive alignment<br />Market timing<br />Management skill-set<br />Ethical leadership is a priori – no compromise<br />8<br />
  9. 9. The Nasty Part<br />9<br />Fail quickly<br />Learn from experience (TOM simulation)<br />Attempt to replace board<br />Zappos trip<br />Super Angel<br />VC Pitches<br />Investors won’t fix<br />Dec 2009-January 2010: Negotiating for transfer<br />

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