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Volume 5, Number 1 - January 6, 2000 - This Week's Contents:

I> NEWS ABOUT THE PROGRAM --1. Happy News Year! --2. Intellectual Property 101 II> REGIONAL NETPRENEURS --1. Rate The Prof --2. RepairNow Offers Customer Service For Etailers --3. An ASP For Medical Practices --4. Enhances Its Storage Service --5. Find A Virtual Service Provider --6. Fish The Right Pond --7. Custom Build Your Outsourcing Service --8. Loislaw For Law Schools III> PARTNERSHIPS --1. AppNet Joins With MCI WorldCom --2. SystemSoft Works With CyberStateU --3. Teams With Thomson --4. Sallie Mae, ICQ Do The Varsity Rag IV> CONSTRUCTION CREWS: Who's Bringing Whom To The Web? V> FUNDING & FINANCE NEWS --1. EyeCast Sights $2 Million And Hits The Highway --2. DiamondBack Bites On $5 Million And Readies For Market --3. InfoVista Nets $10 Million And Looks To The Street --4. Startec Raises $30 Million And Begins Spending It --5. OTG Goes IPO --6. Nx Networks Acquires AetherWorks --7. Solutions America Acquires Sentinel Software --8. TeleComputing Acquires e*biz VI> REGIONAL NEWS --1. UVA's New E-Commerce Education Program --2. Georgetown Goes Dutch (Auction)

>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<< I> News About The Program ________________________________ 1. HAPPY NEWS YEAR! Still looks weird seeing 2000 written everywhere. When we typed it into the dateline above, we sorta got all mushy about it, since this marks the fifth calendar year for Netpreneur News. We're figuring 2000 will be another hot one for netpreneurs here and around the world, and it'll have to be to surpass 1999. We figure that was the breakaway year for the region.

Seems like last year we learned about at least one new Net company every day from every corner of the region and from every market space-- IP telephony, VPNs, Web tools, security, video, services, healthcare, cultural, multicultural, games, commerce, portals and more. We are humbled by the gazillions of ideas you folks come up with.

Smart guys that we are, we started noticing the momentum grow around April. For three years we'd been covering regional Funding & Finance news, mostly with 1 or 2, maybe 3 stories in a really active week. By April, it seemed to be consistently 3 or 4 stories, then 5 or 6. It kept growing so that now we're seeing 8 to 10 on a slow week. It showed in PWC's Money Tree Survey (over $1 billion in VC money for the region through Q3), not to mention the M&A explosion (like AOL, PSINet and others buying up everything around the world that isn't nailed down), a Buick full of IPOs (from Proxicom to AppNet to and growth in angel investing (including new regional groups like the Capital Investors and the Dinner Club).

Maybe what changed most in 1999 is that Greater Washington isn't a secret anymore. Everyone knows it's a hotspot for netpreneurs, one that's still on the come. That's why VCs and investment banks opened offices here this year (like Draper Atlantic) and new ones started up here (like Venturehouse) and incubators opened their doors here (like InfoAge and VenCatalyst) and why all the ISPs, ASPs and services companies of any size now have an ops center or an office here. Heck, the carpetbaggers are even muscling in on Netpreneur News turf, with at least three new email newsletters devoted to covering regional tech and Net businesses.

Nice run. We can't wait to see what you've got cooking for 2000. By April of this year, we expect to be reporting on 15 finance stories a week, OK? Piece o' cake.

Now get back to work. ________________________________ 2. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 101 At the heart of almost every netpreneur's company is some form of intellectual property (IP), whether it's a brand, software code, content or just a logo. A strong IP position can enhance margins, provide revenue and heighten name recognition. A weak position can end you before you start.

Are your rights protected and are you in a position to exploit them? When it comes to IP, we're with J.P. (Morgan), "I don't know as I want a lawyer to tell me what I can't do. I hire him to tell me how to do what I want to do." We've got a panel of IP legal experts coming to Coffee & DoughNets to help you figure that out, and you don't even have to hire 'em. Just buy them a doughnut.

The first Coffee & DoughNets of 2000 will be Tuesday, January 18, 7:30am, at the Monarch Hotel at 24th and M Sts. in DC. Get an overview of IP protection-- from patents and business models, to trademarks and brands, to copyright and Internet marketing law-- and a chance to ask your questions to a panel of experts including Andrew Sherman of Katten Muchen & Zavis; Eric Fingerhut of Shaw Pittman; Marc Kaufman of Sixbey Friedman Leedom & Ferguson. The meeting is free, but you must register online.

Register for C&D: Katten Muchen & Zavis: Shaw Pittman: Sixbey Friedman Leedom & Ferguson:

>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<< II> Regional Netpreneurs _______________________________ 1. RATE THE PROF (Silver Spring MD) is a new site created, owned and run by college students where other college students can post reviews of teachers and classes at colleges, universities and community colleges across the US and the world. The site has already collected over 3,200 reviews for 886 classes at 41 schools. _______________________________ 2. REPAIRNOW OFFERS CUSTOMER SERVICE (Sterling, VA) is launching a campaign to become the online customer service desk for E-commerce sites and for manufacturers whose products are sold online. In addition to its consumer site, RepairNow offers online customer service infrastructure, including customized Web interfaces to its call centers as a back-up. RepairNow is the online spin-off of N.E.W. Customer Service Companies, Inc., an independent provider of buyer protection programs for consumer products. _______________________________ 3. AN ASP FOR MEDICAL PRACTICES (Rockville, MD) James Chen, founder of virtual private network (VPN) provider V-ONE Corp. (Nasdaq: VONE), has launched, a new ASP offering an Internet-based, end-to-end medical practice management network. Using a VPN, the DrFirst network lets medical practices access integrated billing and claim processing, patient information exchange, payment processing and other services. Medical practices in the network get a suite of Internet services such as email, FTP and a public Web site, as well as an appliance device to host their Internet presence, in return for a pre-determined monthly fee based on billing revenues. _______________________________ 4. SWAPDRIVE ENHANCES ITS STORAGE SERVICE (Arlington, VA) announced upgrades to its file management and sharing service, including a new interface, SwapDrive Light, a multi-platform solution that also supports users behind corporate firewalls. Another new feature, SwapDrive PowerPack, is a browser window that allows users to quickly download photos, music or other files from any Web site directly to their SwapDrive. SwapDrive offers users 25 megabytes of free storage space, with the ability to earn or purchase more space. _______________________________ 5. FIND A VIRTUAL SERVICE PROVIDER (McLean, VA) has beta launched, a site that expands the company's focus beyond Virtual Assistants (VA) to Virtual Service Providers (VSP) who offer services over the Net ranging from writing to accounting services to graphic design, phone support and more. The site includes an international directory of free agents and independent contractors, along with chat rooms, bulletin boards and other features. _______________________________ 6. FISH THE RIGHT POND (Easton, MD) Fishing portal debuted regional Angler sites focused on the South, Southeast, California and Texas regions. The sites feature a variety of information for recreational anglers including articles written by regional authorities, local fishing reports, regulations, events and regional news. _______________________________ 7. CUSTOM BUILD YOUR OUTSOURCING SERVICE (Baltimore, MD) Dedicated hosting and co-location services provider SkyNetWEB Ltd. introduced Custom Build Now, a new service that allows visitors to its Web site to custom build any type of dedicated server or co-location service online in real time. Future plans include a custom-designed Web-based GUI for server administration and a turnkey application hosting environment for businesses.

SkyNetWEB: _______________________________ 8. LOISLAW FOR LAW SCHOOLS (Washington, DC) (Nasdaq: LOIS), a provider of research materials to legal professionals via the Web, launched, bringing its LOIS Professional Library series to students and faculty at accredited law schools. The company's Web products feature legal information from more than 1,800 databases estimated to contain over eight million documents of federal and state law and other legal information. Students will have access for the length of their enrollment plus six months after graduation to assist with studies for the bar reviews.

>>>>>>><<<<<< III> Partnerships _______________________________ 1. APPNET JOINS WITH MCI WORLDCOM (Bethesda, MD) AppNet (Nasdaq: APNT) announced an agreement for MCI WorldCom (Nasdaq: WCOM) to offer E-business solutions from AppNet along with the broadband services it offers corporate customers. The combined services will be sold under the MCI WorldCom brand with both companies dedicating sales and marketing staff.

AppNet: MCI WorldCom: _______________________________ 2. SYSTEMSOFT WORKS WITH CYBERSTATEU (Vienna, VA) SystemSoft Corp. announced a partnership with Lafayette, CA-based distance learning and IT testing services provider The two companies will co-market their combined products to the educational community. SystemSoft is the developer of eCertifications, an online skills assessment and certification service.

SystemSoft: _______________________________ 3. ZONAFINANCIERA.COM TEAMS WITH THOMSON (Fairfax, VA) Through a new partnership, will act as Thomson Financial Interactive's distributor of content in Spanish and Portuguese to consumer Web sites. Thomson is providing ZonaFinanciera with financial content which Zona customizes and localizes into Spanish and Portuguese. Thomson Investors Network: _______________________________ 4. SALLIE MAE, ICQ DO THE VARSITY RAG (Washington, DC) Online textbook dealer has a new partnership with Sallie Mae, the nation's largest source of funding for education loans, and AOL's ICQ brand. VarsityBooks will provide Sallie Mae customers with discounts, create a co-branded Sallie Mae page, and become the exclusive book supplier in the Sallie Mae Mall, and Sallie Mae will include VarsityBooks promos in communications to its borrowers. In the multi-million dollar agreement with ICQ, VarsityBooks gets premier placement in ICQ's student and shopping-targeted content and commerce channels and on ICQ's instant messaging application, and will be ICQ's exclusive college-targeted commerce partner and textbook vendor. VarsityBooks will offer a co-branded version of ICQ and develop a co-branded student bookstore. AOL also gets warrants to purchase shares of VarsityBooks based on performance criteria. Sallie Mae:

>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<< IV> Construction Crews WHO'S BRINGING WHOM TO THE WEB?

Davidsonville, MD-based Kelori.COM ( ) launched a site for Close Call America ( ), a company that offers discount long distance service alternatives.

DC's Interactive Applications Group ( built sites for the Southern Rural Development Initiative ( ) and the Washington Council of Agencies ( ).

AppNet (Nasdaq: APNT; ) launched sites for the USDA Graduate School ( ) and the National Geographic's Last Climb ( ).

Herndon's Michelangelo.COM, Inc. ( ) built sites for The Federal Election Commission ( ) and the Midwest Gamma Knife Center ( ) which offers alternatives to neurosurgery.

>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<< V> Funding & Finance News _______________________________ 1. EYECAST SIGHTS $2 MILLION (Herndon, VA), Inc. received $2 million from Washington, DC-based New Horizons Venture Capital. EyeCast is an ASP focused on video solutions and the developer of an Internet-based, remote video control, monitoring, storage and retrieval system. The company's proprietary technology encodes images from standard CCTV cameras and instantly sends the digitized images off-site to a secure data center. One EyeCast application,, debuted this week which allows Northern Virginians to check out the traffic snarls from their computer. The product of a public-private partnership with Virginia's Department of Transportation (VDOT), images from 25 VDOT traffic cameras on interstates 66, 95, 395 and 495 are refreshed every minute. Access to all 110 VDOT cameras is coming by summer, as well as other free and subscription services. VDOT: New Horizons: _______________________________ 2. DIAMONDBACK BITES ON $5 MILLION (Arlington, VA) Internet video technology developer DiamondBack Vision Inc. closed a $5 million round of venture funding led by Novak Biddle Venture Partners with participation from CMGI, ABS Ventures, Draper Richards and the eMedia Club. DiamondBack is developing a video compression engine that uses computer vision principles. Later this year, the company expects to roll out an overnight digital encoding service for high-quality narrowband video and products for real-time video compression.

DiamondBack Systems: _______________________________ 3. INFOVISTA NETS $10 MILLION (Columbia, MD) Current investors have committed another round of $10 million to InfoVista, a provider of service level management (SLM) reporting and analysis solutions. Its products collect and interpret data from all areas of IT infrastructure, including network, device, applications and systems. The company will use the money to expand its staff, develop products and prepare for an IPO. InfoVista is a French company with US headquarters in Columbia, MD. Investors include Innovacom, CV Sofinnova Ventures Partners III, Dassault Development, Paribas Affaires Industrielles, Technologie Holding and Vertex Technology.

InfoVista: _______________________________ 4. STARTEC RAISES $30 MILLION (Bethesda, MD) Startec Global Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: STGC) completed a private placement of 1.875 million shares of its common stock for approximately $30.9 million. The proceeds will be used primarily to fund Startec's Internet initiatives, including the expansion of its VoIP network, development of its eStart ethnic communities and new ISP services. Separately, Startec announced that it has acquired 49% ownership interest in Dialnet Communications Ltd., an ISP in Delhi, India.

Startec: _______________________________ 5. OTG GOES IPO (Bethesda, MD) OTG Software filed its papers for an initial public offering. The company's XtenderSolutions family of products support online, automated data storage management allowing customers to move, store and access data across a corporate network, the Internet and networked storage devices. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq with the symbol OTGS. Underwriters are Credit Suisse First Boston; Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown; SG Cowen; Friedman and Billings, Ramsey & Co., Inc.

OTG Software: _______________________________ 6. Nx NETWORKS ACQUIRES AETHERWORKS (Herndon, VA) VoIP and VPN provider Nx Networks (Nasdaq: NTRX) acquired St. Paul, MN-based AetherWorks Corp., a provider of voice and data carrier class solutions for the telecom industry. Terms were not disclosed.

Nx Networks: AetherWorks: _______________________________ 7. SOLUTIONS AMERICA ACQUIRES SENTINEL (Warrenton, VA) Marina Del Rey, CA-based Solutions America Inc. has acquired Sentinel Software, a consulting firm specializing in large database development, systems integration and ASP services. Terms were not disclosed. Sentinel's clients include Lotus, the Associated Press, SAIC and the Department of Defense. Solutions America is a holding company for businesses that provide E-commerce products and services.

Sentinel Software: _______________________________ 8. TELECOMPUTING ACQUIRES e*BIZ (McLean, VA) Fort Lauderdale, FL-based TeleComputing, Inc. acquired Electronic Business, Inc. (e*biz), an E-commerce solutions developer. The acquisition expands TeleComputing's ASP offerings to include front-to-back E-commerce offerings and professional services. Terms were not disclosed.

e*biz: TeleComputing:

>>>>>>>>><<<<<< VI> Regional News _______________________________ 1. UVA's NEW E-COMMERCE EDUCATION PROGRAM The University of Virginia has a new graduate certificate program in E-commerce to be launched in Northern Virginia later this month. The seven-course, 19-credit certificate introduces E-commerce concepts and applications, and provides skills in using computer-mediated business tools, changing business models and emerging technologies. The courses were developed in collaboration with local firms including Proxicom, Virtualogic, E-Biz Technologies, Telogy Networks, Connecting Links and Two courses will be offered in January: Introduction to E-Commerce with Dr. Deborah Winters, a strategic planner with The Motley Fool; and Strategic Management of E-Commerce Technology with Bruce Biggs, director of E-commerce with CSC. Registration is now underway.

E-Commerce Program: _______________________________ 2. GEORGETOWN GOES DUTCH (AUCTION) Georgetown University has partnered with, a declining price auction site, to offer the University's multimedia immersion certification course for sale. Tuition for the 15-week course, available through the University's Networked Media Center (NMC), is $10,000, but at ReverseAuction, the price will continue to drop until all three slots are gone. The NMC program teaches multimedia development and production for the Web and CD-ROM.

Georgetown's Networked Media Center:


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