Case Detail

Case Summary

Saama Technologies: Growth Through a Focused Vertical Market Strategy

Case Number: 5-218-251, Year Published: 2018

HBS Number: KE1086

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Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Pallavi Goodman

Key Concepts

Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Business Marketing, Growth Strategy, Health Care, Innovation, Marketing Strategy, Product Development, R&D


After a successful transition from a projects-based IT business services company to a platform-driven analytics company, Saama's core leadership team gathered in 2017 to brainstorm the next phase of its growth. The year before, the team had decided to narrow its target market to the life sciences vertical. Saama now had to decide how to execute on this focused strategy by choosing a growth pathway within the life sciences vertical. Saama's leadership team was considering three alternatives: acquiring new customer accounts, developing existing customer accounts, or developing new products by harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies. The team had to evaluate these growth pathways in terms of both short- and long-term revenue potential, as well as their potential for sustaining Saama's competitive advantage.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to: understand how a startup needs to shift from opportunistic growth to focused growth in order to sustain revenue growth; appreciate the importance of focus and domain expertise in creating competitive advantage and driving organic growth; evaluate tradeoffs among customer acquisition, customer development, and product development as growth pathways; and develop an understanding of how AI and blockchain are disrupting industries.

Number of Pages: 21

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Professional, scientific & technical services

Organization Name: Saama Technologies

Decision Maker Position: Founder and CEO

Decision Maker Gender: Male