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Reference no. 816-0037-1
Prize winner
Published by:
ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute (EEI) (2016)
Revision date:
15 pages
Data source:
Field research
In 2001, Carles Rovira, an ESADE Business School undergraduate, with experience in consulting, and Andreu Riera, a pioneer in research on e-Voting security, co-founded Scytl, a spin-off of the main European research group on electronic voting security. The founders struggled during the early stage of the company as they adapted outcomes from the academic world to market needs and sought clients. In 2004, two things were to mark a turning point for Scytl. One was the first customer - a Swiss canton - to sign up for the company's online voting system. The second was the recruitment of Pere Valles as Scytl's Managing Director to lead the company's international expansion. Since then, Scytl's revenues grew at an annual average rate of 60% and the company gained the financial support of eight leading venture capitalists, who among them owned 80% of the company in 2015. In August 2014, after closing its fourth round of VC financing, Pere Valles revealed that the company was considering an IPO on the Nasdaq in 2016. Many questions were still open, the first being whether this was the best option for Scytl and its investors. Furthermore, was the company ready for an IPO? Besides, there were other options available. Most venture-backed tech companies exit through a trade sale. A big multinational software company with a strong public sector practice could be interested in acquiring Scytl. Another option, given the size of Scytl in 2015, with approximately EUR70 million in revenues and 600 employees, was to sell the company to a private equity fund. This case has been featured on our website, click to view the article.
Learning objectives:
1. Understand the exit options available for harvesting a financial investment: (1) an IPO. 2. A trade sale to a strategic partner. 3. A sale to a private equity fund that could structure a buy-out of the company. 4. Analyse the strategic implications of the various exit options for the future of the company, the management team, its employees and other stakeholders, such as customers. 5. Develop abilities in solving the trade-offs for each of the exit options.
Prizes won:
2016 - EFMD Case Writing Competition - category winner
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