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Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
Faculty
Authors: 
Alla Dementieva (contact author) Moscow State Institute of International Relations MGIMO University Prosp.Vernadskogo 76, 119454, Moscow, Russia T: +7-9161782206 E: alladementieva@yandex.ru Olga Kandinskaia CIIM - Cyprus International Institute of Management 21 Akademias Avenue, 2107, Aglandjia, Nicosia, Cyprus T: +357-22462214 E: olga@ciim.ac.cy Olga Khotyasheva Moscow State Institute of International Relations MGIMO University Prosp.Vernadskogo 76, 119454, Moscow, Russia T: +7-9857768904 E: o.khotyasheva@gmail.com

Paranoiabox.ru: Early Growth Decision Dilemma of a Quest Start-up

Paranoiabox.ru case presents an entrepreneurial and strategic marketing decision situation. In May 2019, in Moscow, Russia, two young residents of the MGIMO University business incubator Anastasia and Max founded the start-up business called Paranoiabox.ru. This project was a quest in a new format with home delivery: a mixture of escape, detective and board game. The player received by post a box containing various objects. Interacting with them, he or she unraveled the plot thread, found clues and gradually approached the final clue. The game with complex copyright puzzles had a built-in hint system and provided mechanisms for interaction online. By July 2019, 30 boxes for their first quest were sold. The subscribers were waiting for a new quest. Despite the first sales, Anastasia and Max had no budget for hiring freelancers or outsourcing. They were faced with an urgent and challenging dilemma: whether to concentrate on the current product sales and spend all the budget on promotion, or, alternatively, to launch a series of new quests and focus on the target market with high brand awareness. The latter may also lead to launching a crowdfunding campaign to finance the growth. The case is a multidisciplinary case with the aspects of entrepreneurship, marketing strategy and finance. It is intended primarily for a course in Entrepreneurship, but it can be also used in a Marketing class or an Entrepreneurial Finance class at the undergraduate or graduate level. There is a sufficient number of extenuating circumstances to make for an interesting discussion of marketing strategic factors in this type of a start-up business activities analysis.