What makes an industry attractive? What role do innovation and entrepreneurial initiative play in building and sustaining a new business in a competitive industry? The A case presents the story of 14-year U.S. Navy veteran John “Rooster” Clagett, who left his career as a fighter pilot to pursue a business career. That step has landed him where he is at the moment: founder and president of Visual Training Solutions Group (VTSG). Clagett’s current product offering is a virtual-reality training system designed for fighter pilots. While VTSG has several current government contracts, all of them are due to deliver in the next few months, leaving the pipeline dry in the near future. Rooster is concerned that he may not have the funding to meet his working-capital needs through the end of the year. In addition to the tactical issue of working capital, Rooster is faced with a decision about the future direction of the company. His product has started to gain traction, and large competitors are starting to take notice. Rooster sees several options: forging ahead and taking the large players head on, creating a plan to try to partner with them, or taking his innovative product in a different direction and to a different industry. He is unsure of the competitive environment in the e-learning industry. Is that industry an attractive place in which to compete? He had gained a foothold in the Department of Defense because of his unique knowledge, but would he be as successful outside his comfort zone? The B case (UVA-ENT-0060) offers a short epilogue revealing Rooster’s success in meeting his funding needs, his decision to stay in the defense industry, and the birth of strategic alliances with several large defense contractors.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia