Success During an Economic Crisis

Goals

Ten case studies of successful companies that started or boomed during a historic economic crisis, as wel as, the company name (the name it was known by then and the one they use now), location, industry, name of any person of interest and the role she/he played during the crisis (if any), dates, type of crisis the company was facing, and a brief summary of the strategy applied (the cause for their success).

Early Findings

Groupon

  • Due to the 2008 recession, there was a decrease in consumers interested in trying new activities, eating out, and buying products.
  • Then came Groupon, a website that offered discounts for non-essential services.
  • The company, which sends out daily "email discounts for local businesses, managed to quickly spread to over 35 countries and 300 markets in its first two years, creating a $500 million annual profit. "

Netflix

  • Netflix was founded in 1997. However, the once profitable website-based movie rental service, was failing before the 2008 recession due to the dot com bubble. The company even put itself up for sale.
  • At the peak of the recession in 2009, it gained 3 million members because it introduced a new streaming plan that allowed subscribers to steam an unlimited amount of content monthly.
  • The company also added a wide range of services and price plans, which contributed to its success.
  • Netflix has since expanded to over 100 countries and has millions of subscribers worldwide.

Microsoft

  • The US went through a 16-month recession in 1975 when the GDP hit an all time low.
  • It was during this economic downturn that college drop-outs, Bill Gates and Paul Allen came up with the concept of easy-to-use computing.

Apple

  • Despite being around since the 1970s, Apple "transformed itself during the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, and in the wake of 9/11."
  • In 2001, after the dot com crash, Steve Jobs returned to Apple and helped launch the iconic iPod.
  • Tim Cook, Apple's former COO at the time also contributed to Apple's success amid economic downturns.

MailChimp

  • MailChimp was established in 2001. At the time, its main initiative was focusing on large corporate clients with annual retainers.
  • When the Great Recession hit in 2008, it reformulated its business model and decided to add a freemium option in 2009.
  • A year after this change in business model, its user base went from 85,000 to 450,000.

Proposed next steps:

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As the initial research focused on four companies that were founded or thrived during economic downturns like the 2008 recession, we recommend proceeding with a detailed case study of 10-12 companies that were established or saw success during any economic downturn in the past. These companies can be based in any part of the world. For each case study, we will provide the company name (the name it was known by then and the one they use now), location, industry, name of any person of interest and the role she/he played during the crisis (if any), dates, type of crisis the company was facing, and a brief summary of the strategy applied (the cause for their success).
Alternatively, we could provide 2-3 *additional* case studies of companies that were founded or thrived during economic downturns like the 2008 recession. These companies can be based in any part of the world. For each case study, we will provide the company name (the name it was known by then and the one they use now), location, industry, name of any person of interest and the role she/he played during the crisis (if any), dates, type of crisis the company was facing, and a brief summary of the strategy applied (the cause for their success).