Innoviz Technologies is a leading manufacturer of LiDAR sensors and perception software, technology that enables highly automated vehicles to “see” the road, and everything on or around it. Based in Tel Aviv, Innoviz held its initial public offering in 2021, joining the NASDAQ index. That fall, the company tasked students from MIT Sloan’s Israel Lab with finding creative ways to boost its brand among US investors.
The four graduate students who partnered to address this challenge— Master of Science in Management Studies students Dahai Liu and Jizheng Luan, Sloan Fellows MBA student Takeshi Kai, and MBA student Shinya Shinoda—brought with them a broad range of work experience in fields such as product management, financial services, and systems engineering, in addition to an eagerness to learn more about the autonomous vehicle industry. “I have always been interested in automated driving technology and being able to learn about cutting-edge LiDAR technology was a unique opportunity for me,” Shinoda says. “It was also very exciting to be exposed to the innovative culture of an Israeli company.”
The team began by investigating the performance of LiDAR company stocks over time. “I learned a lot about how to link the firm’s stock valuation to its business and product situation and how to compare the stock valuation among competitors,” Kai says, noting that the team found underperforming stocks were affecting the LiDAR industry as a whole.
The students then conducted a competitive analysis that revealed two of Innoviz’s key advantages:
- Innoviz has been developing industry-leading affordable products faster than its competitors.
- It is the first solid-state LiDAR manufacturer with an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customer, BMW.
To capitalize on these advantages, the team suggested Innoviz expand its market share by appealing to retail investors. Among other strategies, they suggested creating tailored promotional materials for these investors and creating a perks program for shareholders.
Eric Lachter, vice president of marketing at Innoviz, says he and his team are grateful for the insights they gleaned from this project.
Their final report was on point, actionable (we have implemented some of their ideas already), and delivered well. We’d definitely work with the lab again.
The Israel Lab students also acquired new business insights and experience.
Cooperating with people from different cultural backgrounds in a real working environment, especially during this Covid period is a priceless gift from MIT Sloan.
This project allowed me to face the problems that a CEO of an actual listed company faces while I am still in school. It was all a very valuable experience for me.