|ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Year In Review
1. In Dog Years, We're 5.15
2. 1000 Netpreneurs A'Netpreneuring
3. Time To Make The Doughnut Jokes
4. Save Me A Seat At The Revolution
5. I Think It's Time We Had A Little Talk
6. Have We Got You In Our Sites?
7. All The News That's Fit To UUencode
8. Entrepreneurship Rule #1: Adapt
9. All Right Everybody, Group Hug
REGIONAL NETPRENEURS: The Year In Review
1. Looks Like We Got Us A Convoy
2. Late Breaking Stories: New News For The News:
- 1. e-Net Scores A Hit With Telecom 2000
- 2. Virginia Tech Spins Out Wireless Company
- 3. Isis Launches Online Vitamin Store
- 4. Eolian Releases Web Page Accelerator
FUNDING & FINANCE: The Year In Review
1. Baby, What I Couldn't Do With Plenty Of Bandwidth And You
About The Netpreneur Program: The Year In Review
1. IN DOG YEARS, WE'RE 5.15
The Netpreneur Program was officially born in April of 1997, and a lot of preparation went
into the several months before that grand opening. Morino Institute and MCI
Telecommunications Corp. began the early work with the Potomac KnowledgeWay, soon joined
by support from Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). The initial and
continuing work of these organizations has been instrumental, and a lot has happened in
the subsequent nine months. One thing that has characterized the Program since those early
days has been the number of regional companies and organizations who have continued to
step forward as partners, like KPMG Peat Marwick, Capital Growth Interactive, Electric
Press and so many more.
2. 1000 NETPRENEURS A'NETPRENEURING
Sure it's a Year In Review issue, but we've just reached a major milestone that took
almost a year to complete-- the Netpreneur Database this week got its 1000th regional
netpreneur recorded, and then kept right on going to hit 1004. Who'd have thought there
were that many Net-based businesses in our region? Well, we think there are a lot more
that haven't been found yet, and new ones being created every day. We'll keep on the hunt,
building the database into a tool that netpreneurs can use to find potential partners, and
that investors can use to find opportunities. BTW, we're very thorough about validating
the companies in the database to be sure they are truly netpreneurs and in the region. Is
your company listed and is the information up-to-date? Check out the Netpreneur Database
to be sure. You can add and edit your information online.
Netpreneur Database: http://netpreneur.org/database/search-netpreneur.cfm
3. TIME TO MAKE THE DOUGHNUT JOKES
The first Coffee & DoughNets was held in February, before there even was a Netpreneur
Program. It quickly became a successful ongoing effort.
Number of Coffee & DoughNets in 1997: 11
Number of attendees: 1,430
Number of doughnuts eaten: 2,145
Gallons of coffee consumed: 143
Programs suggested at C&DNets which have been implemented: 4
-----Community-of-Interest discussion group, Early Stage event, ------Barter Board, Public
Netpreneurs who have presented at C&DNets: 6
Our thanks to those presenters: Brian Deobald of DIGEX; Chuck Stein formerly of Netrix;
Lisa Amore and Jennifer Jaasma of TV onthe Web; Oron Strauss and Eric Loeb of NetCapitol;
and Andrew Stern and Mike Sheehan of Logex. And thanks also to the organizations who have
sponsored C&DNets through the year: Morino Institute, KPMG Peat Marwick, Coopers &
Lybrand, and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
What are netpreneurs getting out of C&DNets? Here's an example. As a direct result
of Lisa Amore's "business challenge" presentation at the September session, TV
onthe Web has developed business relationships with PSINet and Women's Connection Online.
She said that TV onthe Web has significantly changed its marketing plan, largely using the
advice they received, "but we've been so busy from the new leads we got at the
meeting that we haven't had time to formally rewrite it!"
The first Coffee & DoughNets of 1998 will be held January 22 at Georgetown
University. Time is still to-be-determined, but this one will be a Beer & PeaNets so
mark your calendars for an evening slot.
4. SAVE ME A SEAT AT THE REVOLUTION
Coffee & DoughNets is an intimate, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of gathering. For sheer
numbers, there were four major Program events in 1997:
Positioning Your Company for Early Stage Financing-April 4--462 attendees
An Evening with the Barons-June 12--750 attendees
An Evening with the Stars of Telecom-Oct. 22--1000 attendees
(at MAVA) Venture Opportunities in the Digital Age-Nov. 12--700 attendees
That's some 1912 people attending to interact with each other and with speakers that
included: John Burton of Updata; David Gladstone of American Capital Strategies; Charlie
Heller of The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Jim Kimsey, founder of AOL; John May of
the Private Investors Network; Bill Melton of CyberCash; Mario Morino of Morino Institute;
Morgan O'Brien of Nextel; Robert Pittman of America Online Networks; John Puente of Orion
Network Systems; Russ Ramsey of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co.; John Sidgmore of
UUNET and WorldCom; Alan Spoon of The Washington Post Company; Chuck Stein, formerly of
Netrix; Brian Thompson of LCI International; David Thompson of Orbital Sciences; and Mark
Warner of Columbia Capital.
Our thanks to all of the speakers and to everyone who attended. And thanks to the event
sponsors: America Online; CyberCash; MCI Telecommunications Corp.; Morino Institute; Pamet
River Partners; Riggs Bank, N.A.; TechNews; Ernst & Young, LLP; EXODUS Communications;
Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co.; Orion Network Systems and Ryan McGinn. Thanks also
to the netpreneurs who pitched in to help: Chris Hopkinson of Riparius Ventures, Gerri
Garvin of Career Movers, David Lawrence of Online Today and Ron Schultz of netFilter
5. I THINK IT'S TIME WE HAD A LITTLE TALK
Next to Coffee & DoughNets, email has probably been the best little community builder
netpreneurs have had. In 1997 we started 13 email discussion groups which today have a
total of 1058 members. Netpreneurs are meeting each other and sharing knowledge, talking
about topics like online marketing, best practices and getting funding.
And they're finding partners. InterGuru and Wow Television International hooked up on a
joint development project through Talk the Talk. Blackboard, LLC made a number of investor
and management candidate contacts through a NET-INVEST summary. Nascent Technologies found
the right developer to join their team through a random contact made in the Netpreneur
Discussion Group. According to Ben Lilienthal of Nascent, "This stuff really works
and has produced tangible results."
Thanks to all the participants who make the discussions into effective tools, and to
the netpreneurs who lead three of those groups: Gerri Garvin of Career Movers who leads
the Human Capital group; Harry Richardson of HearthStone Technologies who runs the
Community Of Interest group; and Evan Smith of Sixbey, Friedman, Leedom & Ferguson,
P.C. who heads the Intellectual Property group.
Netpreneur Program discussion groups: http://listserv.morino.org/archives
6. HAVE WE GOT YOU IN OUR SITES?
The Netpreneur Exchange Web site made its official debut on April 20 of this year. It's
the hub for the Program's activities and a central meeting place for our community. Since
April we've added a number of major enhancements, including: the FAQtory, support and
follow-up for events, add/edit features for the Netpreneur Database, the Intellectual
Property Resource Center, an enhanced Calendar, the Advisors Section and Web functions for
ActionNet and Barter Board. Some background on the Exchange:
Number of registered users: 2832
Average visits per month: 4459
Number of events in the Calendar: 264
Total # of content pages: 734
Speaking of content, some of the most interesting additions to Netpreneur Exchange have
been in content provided by individuals and organizations. Our thanks to content partners
Capital Growth Interactive and KPMG Peat Marwick, and contributors Susan DeFife, Katim
Touray, David Gladstone, Krista Mohr, Bob Bailey and the Dingman Center for
Entrepreneurship. More thanks to our friends at GovCon and Proxicom for contributing
software to the site; NMP, Inc., Pamet River Partners and SilverWeb for original graphics
assistance; Glynna Parde, Jocelyn Brittin and Tom Brown of McGuire Woods Battle &
Boothe for help with legal agreements; and Electric Press for ably hosting a constantly
growing and changing site.
BTW, we've been watching traffic at the site and see that it's getting attention from
far outside the region-- 18 states and 22 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada,
Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Netherlands, New
Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
Thailand and the UK.
Register at Netpreneur Exchange: http://netpreneur.org/join
7. ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO UUENCODE
Well, if you're reading this, you know about Netpreneur News. It started in August of 1996
as a discussion group for about 30 people who were advising us on an unnamed idea for a
program that would encourage Net-based business in the region. Today, there are 2943
subscribers and we covered some 536 stories in 1997. November saw the introduction of two
new broadcast services, ActionNet and Barter Board. At 240 and 84 subscribers
respectively, these matching services are young and growing fast.
8. ENTREPRENEURSHIP RULE #1: ADAPT
Our biggest disappointment of 1997? Loathe as we are to admit mistakes, we have to give it
to JobLink, added in April. We thought it was a good idea at the time. After all,
netpreneurs consistently tell us their biggest challenge is finding talented, savvy
employees. It didn't quite dawn on us that our target audience wasn't really looking for a
job writing HTML code. Besides, a lot of folks are doing a pretty good job with recruiting
services already. Well, Momma always said "When it's time to eat crow, be polite, but
no need to ask for seconds." Reflecting on where the Program could actually be of
help to netpreneurs in this arena, Job Bank was replaced by Executive Summary postings to
the NET-INVEST discussion group and then by ActionNet, where netpreneurs are successfully
matching up with proven executives (among other strategic opportunities). Momma may have
been wise, but we can teach her a few things about spin doctoring.
9. ALL RIGHT EVERYBODY, GROUP HUG
Since day one, the Netpreneur Program has been about building community. Throughout 1997 a
lot of people have been carrying the message out to their constituents, contacts and
Number of sites linking to Netpreneur Exchange (that we know of): 22
Number displaying banner or button links: 18
Our thanks to all-- too many to list here-- but it includes such sites as MCI,
Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Times, Patriot.net, Washington Technology, NBC News
4, The Journal Newspapers and Virginia Business.
The electronic reach of the Program goes even further than that. During 1997 some 65
organizations have become part of a network that distributes and redistributes information
about Netpreneur Program events, projects and the Netpreneur News to over 50,000 people.
Again, the list is to long to recite here, but our sincerest thanks to everyone who
Wait. We're not done thanking people yet. Shortly before the MAVA Venture Fair in
November, a few about-to-be-presenters wrote saying, "You folks have anything we can
use to show we're part of the Netpreneur Program?" Never ones to pass up stealing a
good idea, we said, "Give us a minute." Well, no one liked our first idea,
tattoos, so it was back to the drawing board for Netpreneur Program placards. Thanks to
the many netpreneurs who proudly displayed them at MAVA and the recent Internet World in
For more info on connection efforts, contact: Mitch Arnowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Netpreneurs Year in Review
1. LOOKS LIKE WE GOT US A CONVOY
1997 was a banner year for the region's netpreneurs. Since no one ever counted this stuff
up before, we're pretty sure we won't get an argument on that one. What we counted was
those 540 Netpreneur News stories in 1997 and here's what we came up with:
Number of stories about new products and services: 75
Stories about new versions of existing products: 17
Number of partnerships covered: 65
Number of companies involved in those partnerships: 134
Percentage of those 134 companies inside the region: 60
Some pretty impressive numbers, when you consider that all we counted were Netpreneur
News stories. Proud (and humble) as we are of our efforts, we know we're only hitting a
fraction of the stories out there-- many were not announced, or we didn't hear about them,
or we didn't cover the story because of space limitations or because the Post or the Times
was doing a dang fine job on that one, thank you very much (Momma also had things to say
about wrasslin' with the bigger kids). Since we've already found 1004 netpreneurial
companies in the region, we must have missed more than a few of those products and
That said, it's pretty clear the cyber-elves along the Potomac are cooking with gas. In
fact, in 1997 we began to see the second wave of spin-offs and revivified netpreneurs.
Look at a genealogy like Freeloader being created by ex-AOLers who sold it to Individual,
Inc. then started Torso which was sold to Wayfarer then going on to start the Adrenaline
Group. (We think we got that right. Now say it three times fast.)
What's more, it's pretty clear that word of this is getting out. In May, Business Week
said the #1 Hot Growth Company is Yurie Systems based here. Take a look at the Clippings
page at the Netpreneur Exchange and you'll see stories from Reuters, Wired, Business Week,
Fast Company and NBC News. Through connections made at Coffee & DoughNets and Talk The
Talk discussion group, we've seen netpreneurs like superSonic BOOM!, TV onthe Web, Cross
Media, Simutronics, Interboard, Blackboard, Houck & Associates, NetCapitol, 1492
Technologies, Photos 2 Puzzles, GovCon and Logex get hooked up with reporters this year.
Clippings page http://netpreneur.org/about/clippings.html
LATE BREAKING STORIES-- Some New News For The News:
- 1. e-NET SCORES A HIT WITH TELECOM 2000
(Germantown, MD) LAN Times recently provided a glowing review of e-Net, Inc.'s Telecom
2000 product which lets companies send voice, data or both over nearly any type of
network, including ethernet, IP, ATM and frame relay. Telecom 2000 runs on Windows 95 or
NT 4.0 and, according to LAN Times, "gives you all the features you would expect from
a high-end PBX, and then some.... most important of all, the voice quality is
excellent." The magazine rates five characteristics by poor, good or excellent. In
all five rated characteristics (installation, features, scalability, interoperability and
value), the product was rated "excellent."
- 2. VIRGINIA TECH SPINS OUT WIRELESS COMPANY
(Blacksburg, VA) Researchers at Virginia Tech's Mobile & Portable Radio Research Group
have launched a firm specializing in indoor/microcellular wireless planning and system
management. Two new products, SitePlanner and Optimatic, allow wireless engineers and
consultants to rapidly measure, install and manage the wireless infrastructure used to
provide cellular, PCS or wireless LAN technologies in buildings and campuses. Prof. Ted
Rappaport, Virginia Tech faculty member, is CEO of the newly formed Wireless Valley
Communications, Inc. A Web site will be up soon.
- 3. ISIS AND APOTHECARY LAUNCH ONLINE VITAMIN STORE
(Bethesda , MD) Isis Interactive, an interactive publishing company, has launched
vitaminsplus.com, an e-commerce site for the sale of non- prescription health products.
Associated with Isis in the project is The Apothecary, a Bethesda company which has
provided health products for more than 30 years. The e-commerce site is an outgrowth of
Isis's latest CD ROM, "A Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements," which was
produced in association with the Solgar Nutritional Institute.
Vitamins Plus: http://www.vitaminsplus.com
Isis Interactive: http://www.isismedia.com
- 4. EOLIAN RELEASES WEB PAGE ACCELERATOR
(Fairfax, VA) Eolian, Inc. announced its InfoStorm Web page accelerator and local caching
system which increases the speed of downloads and reduces overall bandwidth requirements
by storing frequently accessed pages closer to the end-user. InfoStorm is a hardware and
software unit that communicates with any Internet-ready network. Users typically
experience more than a 50% reduction in delays caused by Internet backbone traffic at a
fraction of the cost of leasing additional backbone circuits.
Funding & Finance: Year In Review
1. BABY, WHAT I COULDN'T DO WITH PLENTY OF BANDWIDTH AND YOU
Fourth quarter VC surveys aren't in yet, but with Q1, Q2 and Q3 numbers all breaking
records, it's a good bet people will be crowing about 1997 for netpreneurs, and Greater
Washington netpreneurs especially. Here's a round up of facts, figures, anecdotes and
milestones that caught our attention:
The largest valuation of a company at IPO in the history of the universe (CIENA at $3+
billion) occurred here.
WorldCom acquired MCI in the largest merger to date.
The WorldCom/AOL/Compuserve deal showed that the social fabric is growing among the
region's netpreneurs. People are getting to know each other, to interact, to plan bold
Money is flowing into the region. Here's a partial list of new funds created here in
1997: Fairfax Partners, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, FBR Technology Venture Partners LP,
Carlyle Venture Partners and Women's Growth Capital Fund.
Investors are taking notice. 1997 was the first year for the Capital Region Technology
Investors Conference and there will be more to come. It was also the first year the
Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) held its Venture Fair in the region. 41% of
presenting companies at the Fair were Greater Washington netpreneurs.
We covered seven IPOs in Netpreneur News this year including Best, GTS, Erols, Didax,
Visual Networks and CIENA. Other regional Net IPOs included Advanced Communications
Systems, Deltek Systems, E-Net, Objective Communications, Template Software, Yurie Systems
and Network Solutions.
Netpreneur News also covered 26 mergers and acquisitions. CommScan counted another 13
Netpreneur News covered 15 venture investments in regional netpreneurs including
Powerplay, LocalEyes, Women's Connection Online, $9.5 million in Telogy and $40 million in
Access Beyond. superSonic BOOM! got $450K from International Business Group in a
connection they made through the Netpreneur Program.
At the Program, we've been spending a lot of time with the financial community, trying
to build those connection points for netpreneurs. Among the initiatives we began in 1997:
-- the NET-INVEST discussion group where we have circulated 27 netpreneur business
summaries to some 51 investors;
-- a weeklong guest appearance by security expert Win Treese of Open Market accepting
questions about opportunities in that space from NET-INVEST members;
-- four breakfast meetings in which 35 key venture capitalists discussed how to enhance
the investment climate for regional netpreneurs;
-- a presentation by John Woloszyn of McGuire Woods Battle and Boothe on issues related
to soliciting investments on the Web and via email;
-- creation of the Early Stage discussion group for netpreneurs to explore questions
Said Peter Barris of New Enterprise Associates, "What I saw at the first Investor
Breakfast was a recognition on the part of the venture community of the real opportunity
in this region. There was an energy level there that I haven't seen before."
For more information on these and other regional events of interest to
netpreneurs and funders, visit the Netpreneur Exchange calendar at (http://netpreneur.org/calendar/calendar.htm).
Dec. 19-----Netpreneur Program Coffee & DoughNets
Jan. 9-------Intro to the Internet: Basic Uses for Business
Jan. 14------Young Entrepreneurs Changing the World
Jan. 20------An Anatomy of a Successful IPO
Jan. 22------Netpreneur Program Beer & PeaNets
Jan. 28------B-W Venture Group Networking Breakfast
Jan. 29------Century Club's Grubstake Breakfast