Set in June 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the case traces the evolution of SensorFlow, an early-stage start-up offering an IoT-powered Energy Management Solution (EMS) to the hospitality sector in Southeast Asia. It documents the founding story and illustrates how the founders, Saikrishnan Ranganathan and Max Pagel, drove the adoption of their innovation by securing a distinctive value proposition and unique business model. SensorFlow’s EMS was targeted at the hospitality sector struggling under pressure to reduce energy consumption and operations costs besides meeting sustainability norms.
SensorFlow’s EMS addressed the gaps in the incumbent solutions with its minimally invasive, less expensive plug-and-play design. In addition, the zero-upfront-cost and pay-as-you-save payment model shortened the sales cycle and accelerated customer acquisition and business growth. However, when the pandemic hit, the growth slowed, and as the long-term implications on the hospitality industry became apparent, the founders had to review their business plans.