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BotGo: Growing pains

BotGo was started in 2007 by Ravi Panchal, an engineer, after he lost motivation to continue at a managerial role at his job. A hands-on technical person, Panchal was inspired to create an underwater tank-cleaning robot. He started BotGo by bootstrapping it with his savings and roped in his friends for key positions in the company. He also started workshops for robotics education in colleges in order to sustain the company; he called this initiative BotLearn. In 2009, BotGo was incubated and Panchal started franchises for BotLearn as part of his growth plans. This led to a crisis within the company, escalating to a point where Panchal was forced to consider options. This case highlights the importance of a product-to-market fit and examines the decision to franchise in view of the case facts. The case also points towards the mistakes in crisis management, with particular emphasis on channel management. Towards the end of the case, Panchal is faced with a dilemma on whether to continue with the franchises or close them down. The dilemma is further accentuated since Panchal’s decision would ultimately affect the growth of BotGo as well as directly challenge his intention to franchise.


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