Case Study


10 pages
October 2018
Reference: IMD-7-2041

This is a non-public page prepared by IMD for the LakeDiamond company. Please don’t distribute the link without authorisation from IMD.

This case study is currently being developed by IMD and is not available through case clearing houses.

LakeDiamond was a Swiss company incorporated in Switzerland in 2015 and based in the Innovation Park of Lausanne’s engineering school— Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Using proprietary reactors and technology, LakeDiamond produced, transformed and sold lab-grown diamonds for high-value applications in micro-mechanics, photonics, electronics and biotech.

In 2018 LakeDiamond was looking for additional financial resources in order to increase its production capacity of lab-grown diamonds. But distributing equity would mean losing control of the company. For this reason, LakeDiamond chose an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as an alternative to traditional equity funding. The mechanism of the public token sale was blockchain-based and involved selling reactor machine-hours in the form of virtual tokens. In October 2018 LakeDiamond’s executive team was getting ready for the public launch.

Learning Objective
  • Reflect on the start-up challenges behind raising funds and keeping control of the company
  • Understand the attractiveness of Blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and ICOs for entrepreneurs and investors
  • Identify the principles behind a successful ICO
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