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Copyright © 2021, Ivey Business School Foundation Version: 2021-11-09
It was August 2020 when Lara von Petersdorff-Campen and Marvin Homburg ended the most important meeting thus far for their young company, Lytt. They had recently moved to Berlin, Germany’s (start-up) capital-just the right environment to grow such a business successfully. At the meeting in their brand new office, they had negotiated a €1.1 million’ investment from a Berlin-based venture capitalist. Built as an ombudsman2 platform, Lytt was a digital assistant that helped employees communicate difficult topics safely and anonymously. Lytt was a Norwegian expression meaning “to be heard.” It expressed von Petersdorff-Campen and Homburg’s vision that every employee should be given a means to speak up about misconduct at work without fear of retaliation or disadvantage. Thereby, Lytt aimed to help companies understand their working climate and sustainably promote employee satisfaction and well-being.
Minutes after the meeting, the founders’ joy turned into activism. The venture capital (VC) investment offered them many new opportunities, but also introduced some challenges. Von Petersdorff-Campen and Homburg knew they still had a long way to go.
First, the two founders needed to determine their scope within the field of risk management systems (RMS) and whistleblowing systems and to evaluate their target market. Based on these decisions, they had to figure out a go-to-market strategy and, most importantly, how to sell the envisioned communication platform. Second, von Petersdorff-Campen and Homburg needed to evaluate the impact of the VC investment on their autonomy as business owners. And third, as if these decisions were not difficult enough, they had to temporarily adjust their marketing activities to comply with the recurring contact restrictions related to the COV1D-19 pandemic.’ The founders also feared that the pandemic would mean companies would have to lower their budgets for employee satisfaction and health.
1 € = EUR = euro; US$1 = €0.83761 on August 31, 2020. 2 An ombudsman worked for an organization and was charged with investigating complaints of misbehaviour and attempting to resolve them. For an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany and governmental reactions, please see Robert Koch Institute, “COVID-19,” 2020, accessed May 2, 2021,
This document is authorized for use only by Yohsuke Kagawa in New Venture Creation Summer 2022 taught by Yl YANG, University of Massachusetts – Lowell from May 2022 to Nov 2022.