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Case Studies: Strategy and Business Planning

Client: WorldGames

Client Situation.

US Order was one of the earliest entrants into the online banking market in 1992. The company created a device and process that not only facilitated remote banking from home, but also presented a wealth of other opportunities for applying the technology to other markets. One outgrowth of the success of the US Order technology was the creation of WorldGames, a company that sought to leverage US Order's technology in the gaming market (e.g. horse racing, lottery, etc.) The company was established without any staff, business plan, or funding but simply based on the enormous size of the gaming market and its lack of technical sophistication for its transaction-based businesses.


The key challenge of WorldGames was to take what existed as a concept and determine whether or not a business could be developed from that concept. Widening that challenge was: no dedicated staff or budget, no market knowledge, nor a clear set plan. Other challenges included:

  • Analyzing a market with very little consolidated and publicly available data on its function or profitability.
  • The need to source data from individuals in the market, without an existing network in gaming to tap.
  • The existence of several distinct market sectors in gaming from which to choose to pursue a business, expanding the scope of available data to consider.
  • Even after data could be collected, the need to create a full business plan and strategy for US Order to consider in making its decision to pursue the business and to invest in it.
  • Lighthouse was given just 90 days to generate a plan.
  • Opposing and constantly changing opinions and levels of commitment among US Order's executives and investors to the concept of pursuing a business in gaming.

Lighthouse Role.

Given the complexity of the assignment and the challenges, Lighthouse first better defined and refined the needs and goals of the client and in turn the focus, priorities and scope of the project. This allowed the client to gain a better sense of what it wanted to achieve and allowed Lighthouse to lead the client through a logical and linear set of phases to understanding the market and clarifying the opportunity. Once begun, the project included:

  • A fast but comprehensive study of the overall market to determine its segment, dynamics, trends and fit with WorldGames technology.
  • Creating a methodology for identifying the best market segments and how to pursue each.
  • A more complete study of the chosen market segment resulting in a detailed market, customer and competitive study, a series of proposed business plan approaches to entering the market, and a set of recommendations that sought to balance the market opportunities with the company goals and strengths.
  • An assessment of partners in the market (after the company chose a licensing path) and a strategy for pursuing partners and structuring the relationships.


  • Developed a clear and comprehensive overview of gaming in general, establishing a series of criteria for determining the most appropriate segments for application of US Order's technology. From this analysis, Lighthouse was able identify horse racing as the market with the best fit and potential for WorldGames.
  • Conducted a more in depth assessment and market study of horse racing to understand its financial, business, and operational dynamics.
  • Developed a business strategy and recommendations for entering this market.
  • Led a strategy review with senior management to assess the options and ultimately to determine a strategy for entering the market as a technology licensee.
  • Pursued and secured licensing partnerships for use of the company's technology with several industry leaders. Lighthouse identified likely partners, led the exploratory conversations, and was part of the negotiating team for securing agreements. In this later role Lighthouse assumed the role of both advisor to the company's senior officers and temporary member of the management team in the absence of a dedicated team of managers.

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