22 Jan 19

Harvard students study the business of Formula E

The business of Formula E - as told by the man who knows it best.

That’s what select MBA students were treated to at Harvard Business School, with Founder & CEO and newly-appointed Chairman of Formula E Alejandro Agag providing a detailed insight into the foundations of the fastest-moving series in motorsport.

Together with Professor Bob Higgins as part of a short intensive programme ahead of the spring semester - titled ‘Building Sports Businesses’ - Agag joined the NHL commissioner and representatives of Golden State Warriors and Drone Racing League to outline the secrets to his success and the sacrifices required to get a new start-up off the ground.

From a light-bulb moment and notes on a napkin, to renowned brands and automotive giants racing on the streets of Hong Kong, Paris, Rome and New York City. In the space of under five years, Agag and his team has taken Formula E from some slides on a PowerPoint presentation and created an electric empire.

However, the idea itself wasn’t enough. It needed to be executed. You’ve got the backing of the FIA and you’ve come up with a name. Now you need a car - a visual representation of your product… but it’s something that’s never been seen or done before.

Not only that, you need some stars - the faces that Formula E fans cheer for. Teams - tick, drivers - tick.

Next on the list is finding a suitable setting and the city is the arena of choice. There’s quite literally bumps in the road when trying to bring motorsport to people’s doorsteps. Instigating conversations with local authorities and sourcing a promoter and commercial partners to fund the event, along with permits, permissions and plenty of patience. It’s the most challenging, but the most rewarding way to go racing and from a business standpoint it’s a unique selling point. That’s what Agag needed to sell - the vision of an electric future.

Speaking after the event, Agag added: “It’s not every day that Harvard Business School teaches a case study about your company. I really hope the students of this great university can take away some valuable lessons from the journey we’ve been on over the past five years and the continued growth and success of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.”

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