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AM: Netpreneur Program and YOU make The New York Times/Cybertimes

To:     <>
Subject:     AM: Netpreneur Program and YOU make The New York Times/Cybertimes
From:     "Mitch Arnowitz" <>
Date:     Fri, 24 Oct 1997 12:47:46 -0400

Enclosed you will find today's New York Times article
on both the program and individual netpreneur successes.
You might want to use this piece as you pitch products
and services outside of the region.
Funny, I always read for the NY New
Media/ad-marketing scene- now they're writing on us!
Also, WiredNews has an article today on this week's
community Telecom event (address below). Looks like
our community is on the radar screen- thanks to you!
Mitch Arnowitz      Advertising/Marketing Discussion Group
Business Development                      
PKW Netpreneur Program                           v 703.620.8971                                      f 703.620.4102
Wired article:
October 24, 1997

New York Times (CyberTimes)


Leveraging Government Into New-Media Enterprise

Business is changing. There's just no doubt about it. If you pay attention
only to the latest headlines generated by Fortune 500 companies, you miss
the forging of an intricate and powerful web of smaller enterprises, the
regional growth of a vast number of startups made possible by an
increasingly networked society.

New York City planners were stunned two years ago to discover that in a
city that traditionally fought a very public -- and often losing -- battle
for job retention, an entirely new industry had sprung up without any help
from government. Silicon Alley, to those focused only on the stock market,
seemed to rise up out of nowhere.

But of course, it didn't. Thousands of people saw opportunity in the kind
of relationships made possible by digital communications, and they started
businesses. A fast-growing sector was born. The pattern was formed
elsewhere -- in the Bay Area of California and Boston -- and has been
repeated in places like Austin, South Florida, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.,
Seattle, Minneapolis, Toronto and Los Angeles, and even in Washington, D.C.

Washington -- or, in reality, the belt from southern Maryland down through
northern Virginia -- is a special case. Just as New York has the arts
community and advertising industry and Los Angeles has the entertainment
sector, Washington has government -- and the billions of dollars in
government contracts that go with it. The computer industry is not a
stranger in the strip from Baltimore south to Richmond; the Pentagon alone
has been one of the most demanding clients a database company could hope

But new media is, indeed, still new. And so is the idea that one or two
people, working out of a tiny office or an extra bedroom, can start a
company that can compete internationally.

That's where the Potomac KnowledgeWay Project comes in. A descendant of a
business roundtable of northern Virginia leaders at George Mason
University, it's not a trade organization, like, say, the New York New
Media Association, but it does hold meet-and-greet events and conferences
in the D.C.-area for entrepreneurs. Rather, it's a local advocacy group
outside of government that has a tight set of goals and a five-year plan.
And when the job is done, its founders insist, the project will shut down.

The goals are ambitious: to cultivate 2,000 new-media startups and, in the
process, create 50,000 new "knowledge-based" jobs; increase the region's
consumption by $2.5 billion by 2002; and the pie-in-the-sky kicker --
"establish Greater Washington as the top U.S. location for knowledge-based
companies and entrepreneurial activity."

Greater than New York and Boston? Bigger than the Valley? Hold on, says
Mario Morino, the self-made computer industry multimillionaire who's the
guiding light behind the program.

It's not really about competing with those high-tech, new-media centers,
Morino insisted in an interview. It's much more about taking the resources
of the region and allowing them to grow in the new economy.

"We're focusing on changing the dynamics of the region," said Morino, who
founded the company that evolved into Legent Corp.n, a Virginia-based
dynamo of distributed computing that was eventually sold for $2 billion to
Computer Associates two years ago in what was the largest acquisition in
the history of the computer industry. Nowadays, Morino runs the Morino
Institute, a nonprofit enterprise that aims to use new technologies to
improve society, especially for young people.

Morino said that the entrepreneurial spirit has been dormant in the
Washington area since the late 60's, but that with corporate downsizing and
the low barriers to entry of the Internet, the startup business is booming.
KnowledgeWay is tracking nearly 1,000 startups in the region, he said.

The project, which counts some of the region's top technologists as its
board members, plans to raise $5 million to aid the startups in a variety
of ways, from introducing them to so-called "angel" investors --
essentially, wealthy people willing to take a chance on a good idea -- and
bringing in venture capital, to creating a regional sense of growth that
will encourage others to take the plunge. The most active aspect of the
project so far is the Netpreneur program, which provides a growing support
network to startups.

"Everywhere we turn, we bump into contacts we've made through the program,"
says Julie MacKinnon, founder of superSonic BOOM, a Web site offering
custom-made CDs and online sales. Her company got an angel investor, a
feature on the local NBC TV affiliate and a key meeting with the chief
executive of distribution for the music giant Polygram Records -- all
through the KnowledgeWay networking.

Lisa Amore, director of marketing for TV on the WEB, a small startup that
provides streamed video to other sites, was able to show her product to 200
members in an informal setting. When she asked for feedback, she says, "We
were amazed at the response; an hour was dedicated to fellow executives who
openly and willingly divulged their marketing strategies and secrets."

Bob Nelson, president and chief executive of CrossMedia Corp., which
provides wireless e-mail, tells the story of a visiting Japanese journalist
who contacted his company through the network. When the story appeared in
Japan, the chief executive of a Japanese telecommunications company asked
for a meeting. But instead of keeping the contact all to himself, Nelson
set him up with another Netpreneur company, Torrent Networking Technologies
of Landover, Md.

Larger, more established companies are also using the program.

"I approached the group with a problem and a plea," says Neil Harris,
executive vice president of Simutronics Corp., a 10-year-old Rockville,
Md., creator of online games like GemStone III, with 40 employees. "I'm
getting ready to go after some investment capital in a big way, and I
wanted to have my presentation critiqued. The KnowledgeWay people set me up
with a local consultant who rounded up a review board who gave me several
hours of intense, and invaluable, input -- all for the price of dinner."

In Washington, as in New York and elsewhere, business leaders are trying to
create a climate that borrows from the capital investing hothouse in
Silicon Valley, but on a smaller scale. It's too early to tell whether they
will indeed become regional juggernauts, but it is clear that something has

The support groups and trade organizations aren't the horse; they're part
of what's going on in the cart. They're a reaction to a changing economy
that puts a premium on information and knowledge, making use of technology
along the way.

Morino says that today's mom and pop businesses have a real change for
success. "The model for entrepreneurship," he insists, "has changed." 

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