A similar example can be seen in the story of Matthew Golden and his Bay Area startup Recurve (originally Sustainable Spaces).
Golden had a passion and talent for home energy audits. The problem was that the auditing service was difficult to scale. Golden built a software company to automate the auditing process based on converting his tacit knowledge into an expert system that would become more effective and less expensive the more it was used. But the software was relatively expensive to build and maintain, especially as Recurve had relatively limited sales and distribution channels. Recurve tried to license the software to contractors and other energy auditing companies, but the economics could not support small scale implementation.
The real power of the system required the infrastructure of an integrated energy services company. Acquired by Tendril, the software is now the backbone of a sophisticated suite of energy management tools used by utilities as a key element in their total customer engagement process. From a few hundred audits in San Francisco, the software has now been used to generate more than 30 million audits in the US, and is being tested in Europe and Asia.