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News Center Top Story Archives
Week of February 20, 1997
Issue 4, Volume II
1. Netpreneurs Brave Snow For Coffee & Doughnets
2. Deals Flow Through Netpreneur Exchange
3. Challenge And Change In The Digital Age
1. InfoData Bridges Islands Of Information
2. Info.Design Builds Information Architectures
3. COS Publishes Surgical Network
4. Bell Atlantic Launches Interactive Yellow Pages
5. Information Inc. To Create News For Industry.Net
6. COMTEX Adds Interactive Sports
7. New Project Management Simulator
8. Discovery Online Wins Best Editorial Site
9. UUNet Plans $300 Million Network Expansion
1. Trade Compass Helps Launch Export America 97
2. E-Mail Access Through Cell Phones
3. PLS To Incorporate Inso Technology
1. Embryon Capital Provides Financing For LocalEyes
2. Discovery Buys Equity In Omniview
3. DDN To Acquire ACIS
4. AOL Takes Stake In Online Auctions
5. Need Funds? It's Money In The Bank
1. Can Broadcasting Succeed On The Net?
2. Targeting The Talkers
Feb. 26-- Agents on the Web
Feb. 27-- Java Design
Mar. 4-- Class On The Internet
Mar. 6-- Your Business and the Internet: A Practical Forum for Executives
Mar. 6-- Venture Financing For Rising Technology Companies
Mar. 10-12-- Computers In Libraries Conference
Mar. 12-- Digital Dilemmas: Defining Ethics in the Internet Age
Mar. 12-- Venture Capital Due Diligence: How It Works
Mar. 12-- Business Growth of Privately Held Companies
Mar. 17-- How To Build A Successful Consulting Business
Mar. 18-19-- Networked Economy Conference
Mar. 25-27-- Communication Design Engineering Conference
Mar. 27-28-- First Annual Conference of Univ. Entrepreneurship Centers

News About The Netpreneur Program

Over 40 netpreneurs turned out for the Netpreneur Program's first Coffee & DoughNets session on Friday, February 14, and from the feedback we've received, it was a huge success. Attendees braved snow, ice, rain and traffic for, as one person put it, hot coffee and cool people. Coffee & DoughNets sessions are an opportunity to informally learn more about the Netpreneur Program, but mainly to network and connect with other netpreneurs. The group discussed such issues as helping investors better understand Internet-based businesses, addressing marketing challenges faced by young companies and building the ideal community environment for the netpreneur. To find out what we learned from this meeting and to get details on upcoming sessions, check out the Netpreneur Exchange at ( The February 28 Coffee & DoughNets is already filled, but watch the site for the location of the March 14 event. We will continue holding these sessions bi-weekly as long as interest lasts.

"Deal flow has certainly increased since our involvement in the Netpreneur Exchange," comments Matt Gibbs, an associate at Fairfax Partners/The Venture Fund of Washington. Fairfax Partners was one of the first venture capital firms to be listed on "It's Online," a feature of the Funding & Finance section of the Netpreneur Exchange. "It's Online" highlights venture capital firms and lists important contact information for reaching people who can discuss funding options and opportunities. Gibbs also stated that Fairfax Partners is "very pleased with the service that the Exchange has provided" and that it "serves as a directory to both netpreneurs and venture capitalists-- a sort of bridge between the industries." In the past few months, Fairfax Partners has received over 30 executive summaries and 15 business plans, and has reviewed 6 formal presentations-- all a direct result of the Netpreneur Exchange. Fairfax Partners has been ranked the seventh largest venture capital firm headquartered in Greater Washington.

Georgetown University's Global Entrepreneurship Studies Program, in partnership with the Netpreneur Program and the Morino Institute, is hosting "Challenge and Change in the Digital Age," a series of speaker panels on important issues related to doing business on the Internet. The first of the series, Electronic Publishing: Fad or Future, will be held on March 5 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the Riggs Library on the Georgetown Campus. Speakers will be Mark Pincus, co-founder of Freeloader, and Ralph Terkowitz, VP of Technology of the Washington Post Company. The cost is $50 to be paid at the door and includes pre and post networking receptions. The second presentation of the series, On-Line Investing: Can Establishment Brokers Compete?, will be held on April 23 and feature David Gardner, President of Motley Fool. Space is limited. To RSVP, contact Georgetown University directly at 202/687-4188 or e-mail (

Regional Netpreneurs

(Fairfax, VA) Infodata Systems Inc., (Nasdaq SmallCap: INFD) released Virtual File Cabinet (VFC), a Web-based product for accessing, organizing and sharing documents. With VFC and a Web browser, users can search for, retrieve, edit and file information from across an enterprise regardless of where the documents originated or are stored. VFC links users to documents, giving them constant access to the main file, but allowing them to store it in personalized "virtual file cabinets" on their desktops. VFC supports full-text and metadata search, drag-and-drop importing and file-based security. According to Richard Tworek, Infodata executive vice president, VFC will "give wider and wider access within multivendor environments, relieving much of the concern associated with purchasing, implementing and merging multi-million dollar document management, workflow or imaging solutions because it will standardize and simplify access to documents across all systems." Infodata is at (

(McLean, VA) What is information architecture? According to the netpreneurs at Info.Design, Inc., a new business in McLean, it is "a new field that seeks to tame the 'tidal wave of information' that's inundating organizations and individuals." Information architects organize and present information to help people find what they need, merging text and design to create online and offline materials that are "like well-designed buildings: useful, accessible, and interesting." Business Week (12/16/96) described information architects as "a new breed -- people who have a knack for understanding complex matters and presenting them in a coherent and interesting fashion." Info.Design ( creates Web sites, Intranet sites, multimedia and print materials using an information architecture approach focused on the front-end user interface. Says president Thom Haller, "We're user advocates. Our goal is to structure and organize information to help a user get a job done--and enjoy the process."

(Baltimore, MD) Community of Science, Inc. (COS) and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons have entered into a five year agreement for COS to act as the publisher of a Web site and network for cardiothoracic surgeons. An initial Web site ( featured this month at the society's meeting has already logged nearly one million hits from more than 90 countries and generated over 100 new memberships applications. It has received such keen interest that it will be expanded into a worldwide network of surgeons, organizations, and journals to be called CTSNet. The goal is to create a new mechanism that surgeons can use to collaborate and gain information on outcomes. The Web editor for the Society, Dr. Peter Greene, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, has recruited interested surgeons to edit specific content areas of the Web site and identified COS to serve as the Web publisher.

(Bethesda, MD) Following a one-year trial, Bell Atlantic Electronic Publishing Inc. introduced the commercial application of the Bell Atlantic Interactive Yellow Pages at ( The electronic directory provides users with original content in the Special Interest areas of leisure travel, home improvement and business information, as well as a range of local community and government information. Content for the communities of Washington, DC; Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Baltimore, MD; Northern Virginia; and Norfolk, VA, is currently available. Other communities and other Special Interest categories will be added throughout the year. Also included is Big Yellow, a product of NYNEX Information Technologies which provides listings for over 16 million businesses across the US and a nationwide residential White Pages. Bell Atlantic Electronic Publishing Inc. is a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic ( Also unveiled was the Internet Guide, a primer for consumers interested in getting started on the Internet that will become a standard part of Bell Atlantic's Yellow Pages print directories. The how-to guide is a 4-color, 12-page insert, will be bound into all Yellow Pages, Loudoun/Fauquier, VA, and Elizabeth, NJ, directories in March. Both the Guide and Interactive Yellow Pages are offering advertising opportunities.

(Bethesda, MD) Information, Inc. ( has signed an agreement to provide Nets, Inc. with a suite of five custom, weekly news services focused on various industrial sectors which will appear on the Industry.Net Web site ( The service provides daily, compact summaries of noteworthy articles culled from more than 1,300 information sources. The first service, Maintenance Electronics, is scheduled to appear this month. According to Info, Inc. president, Alain Carr, the intelligence services provide unique and timely encouragement for members to visit the site daily.

(Alexandria, VA) COMTEX (OTC Bulletin Board: CMTX), an integrator and value-added distributor of real-time news sources, announced the addition of ISWire Sports Beat to their line-up of news and information providers. ISWire Sports Beat, a service provided by Interactive Sports, features original news stories on the business ramifications behind sports events, teams and athletes. ISWire Sports Beat will be integrated into COMTEX' line of CustomWire topic-driven newswire products. Specializing in serving resellers, COMTEX offers electronic news distributors, online services and corporate networks a single source for worldwide news coverage.

(Washington, DC) Virtual Experience Corporation (, developer of training simulations and virtual environment courseware, released VX-1 Basic Software Project Management simulator, an interactive simulation training environment for software developers. VX-1 integrates all aspects of project management including virtual staff, bosses, and clients, making the user the central player in a business scenario. The virtual personnel of VX-1 have a mix of abilities, needs, emotions, and agendas to bring a human element to the simulation. VEC has also developed a set of dynamic rules that allows VX-1 to throw curves such as budget cuts, client changes and staff resignations. According to CEO Dr. Bernard W. Jordan, Jr., "The VX-1 simulation evolves as the user makes decisions, and the results of those decisions are propagated. If the user makes mistakes, the project reflects that. All the consequences of decisions and reactions are there for the user to correct or avoid." VX-1 can be connected to corporate intranets and the Internet.

(Bethesda, MD) Discovery Channel Online (DCOL) ( has been awarded the international Milia d'Or Award for outstanding achievement in the creation and production of its Web site. DCOL was one of 10 nominees (4 from the US) for Best Editorial Online Site. The panel of judges included multimedia educators, editors, writers and CEOs from Japan, France, Canada, the UK and the US.

(Fairfax, VA) With dial access demand growing at a rate of over 10% every week and traffic over its backbone almost doubling every quarter, UUNET Technologies, Inc. announced that it will spend approximately $300 million to more than quadruple its available backbone bandwidth and dial capacity. Over the next six months UUNET ( will upgrade and increase its dial ports and migrate its backbone segments to ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) technology that supports OC12, the highest speed available today for IP transmission at 622 Mbps.


(Washington, DC) Microsoft, GTE and DC-based Trade Compass have formed Export America 97, an initiative designed to bring technology solutions to small and midsize US exporters. Export America 97 will feature a series of conferences in 15 cities throughout the US. The conferences will demonstrate Internet technology and business solutions and feature hands-on Internet training, speakers, information and services. Conferences begin April 16 in Atlanta and will culminate in Washington, DC at Export World 97 in November. For more, visit ( Trade Compass ( offers Internet-based resources for market intelligence information and logistics tools for companies engaged in international business. Their site provides real-time international business news, trade leads, market intelligence reports, and a logistics management system including electronic export documentation filing, shipping schedules, cargo booking, air and ocean cargo tracking and the only Internet EDI connection with US Customs.

(Owings Mills, MD) AT&T Wireless Services introduced a new service that provides access to e-mail through cellular phones using Infinite InterChange server software from Owings Mills-based Infinite Technologies. Infinite InterChange installs on a Win 95 or NT computer that connects to a LAN-based email system. Remote users can access the corporate e-mail network over a network using a variety of protocols including Unwired Planet's HDML upon which AT&T PocketNet service is based. HDML optimizes Internet and intranet output for viewing on the display screen of a cellular telephone. This lets a company fine tune communication for purposes like order entry and sales force deployment. A free 30-day trial is available from Infinite at ( Infinite Technologies offers a variety of enterprise messaging solutions.

(Rockville, MD) Personal Library Software Inc. (PLS) will incorporate Boston-based Inso Corporation's ( Quick View Plus technology throughout PLS's data retrieval products, allowing PLS solutions to read, index and display over 150 different file formats, including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and database files without requiring document conversion or the need to launch a file's original application. PLS ( develops indexing and search tools for rapidly accessing information stored on the Web, corporate intranets and CD-ROMs.

Funding & Finance News

(Bethesda, MD) Embryon Capital has invested $650,000 in LocalEyes, Inc., a McLean, VA-based company. LocalEyes has created the first business discovery system for the Web that integrates geographic and topical information on businesses down to the neighborhood level, automatically and scalably for the entire US. Its service at ( will launch in March. LocalEyes is based on proprietary technology that allows the company to present a ubiquitous, national offering at a fraction of the per market investment required to develop city sites. At launch, this service will provide a comprehensive business directory of Web sites for each of the over 2,000 recognized markets which define the United States -- not merely selected metropolitan areas. LocalEyes automatically integrates these Web site addresses within 10.5 million directory listings.

(Bethesda, MD) Discovery Communications, Inc., producers of Discovery Channel Online ( has purchased an equity interest in Omniview, Inc., ( Omniview, Inc. develops products and services based on a patented photography technology which allows users to photograph places and events with standard cameras, then transform their photos and videos into true 360-degree environments. Using mouse clicks or key strokes, Omniview's system enables people to move within these environments, looking in any direction. Discovery Channel Online's Internet audience was first exposed to the technique in August 1996 in coverage of an expedition to research and recover the ocean liner Titanic. Terms of the investments were not disclosed.

(McLean, VA) Digital Data Networks (DDN) (Nasdaq SmallCap: DIDA, DIDAW) of Dallas, TX, announced it has signed a letter of intent to acquire McLean-based Advanced Communication and Information Services, Inc. (ACIS) subject to shareholder approval of both companies. The purchase will involve a combination of cash and stock valued at approximately $30 million. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, ACIS provides digital communication and information services. Subsidiaries include e>connect, Canada's leading value-added data networking provider, and a wireless communications division, TD Communications. e>connect recently deployed the first implementation of its SmartBuilding service in the US at the National Press Building in Washington, DC. SmartBuilding provides tenants in a building with high-speed Internet access, private LAN/WANs, video on demand and desktop video conferencing. DDN provides corporate high-speed Internet access and development services.

(Dulles, VA) America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), has taken a minority position in and formed an alliance with Toronto-based Internet Liquidators International Inc. (Canadian Dealer Network: ILII), a provider of real-time, online auctions and factory-direct online shopping. Under the agreement, ILII ( will share revenues from its transaction content with AOL, and receive marketing support, promotions, product offerings and a direct link to AOL members.

There's good news from a couple of unlikely sources for small, capital- starved netpreneurs. Not too long ago, start-up companies and struggling small businesses need not have bothered going to banks or commercial finance companies in search of funds. However, the times have changed, reports the Wall Street Journal (1-13-97). Many of these companies are now reaching out for the business of small firms. Wells Fargo & Co. provides a prime example. In 1995, the bank approved $1.4 billion in small business loans, based on a new credit-scoring program. Lucile Redi, an executive VP at the bank, told the Journal that the procedure "allows us to make more loans to more owners for higher amounts at less cost and lower risk." Commercial financiers have upped their lending to small concerns as well. General Electric's financing arm now has some $700 million in small business loans outstanding. (Copyright 1997, Information Inc. Courtesy of MCI)


Web broadcasting is an increasingly popular new medium. So new that there is little experience available for successful models. Crestwood Associates ( has created a special Webcasting Edition of its Inside Internet Review in association with DC-based Intervox Communications, ( The Review offers help in developing and targeting Web broadcasting services, evaluates the impact on media habits, provides adaptation curves of new Web technologies and their integration into user lifestyles. The study is segmented by business and personal usage and by different media habits.

WebChat Broadcasting System (, operator of some 200 online chat rooms, announced last month that it has named Softbank Interactive Marketing ( to handle chat room ads. The move is indicative of a larger trend taking place among major Web players, as increasing numbers look to chat rooms as the next forum for online ads. Advertising Age (1-27-97) ( reports that firms such as HotWired, iVillage, Yahoo!, and Netscape have plans to launch chat ad campaigns, and AOL intends to sell ad space in its chat rooms in the near future. "Smart publishers know that communicating and community are the biggest reasons people use the Web," says Peter Storck, a group director of advertising at Jupiter Communications ( "It's a great way for a hot publisher to extend his ad revenue by selling some premium new space." WebChat's chat room ads vary, from spots outside of rooms (priced between $19 and $50 per thousand) to banners within chat rooms themselves. HotWired has created (, a group of 20 chat rooms in which banner ads rotate twice a minute. Advertisers pay $20 CPM for the banners. "People who are chatting have time on their hands," says Rick Boyce of HotWired, "so they're actually more likely to click on banners, especially if it's targeted to their interests." But Jerry Shereshewsky, VP of marketing at Yoyodyne, says "the notion of banners in and around chat is oxymoronic," and he believes the future of chat advertising will be gaming. Marketers should create Web-based games that incorporate chat, giving users the option of talking or playing. "The key will be creating environments in which the line between the game and the sponsor becomes blurry," explains Shereshwesky. (Copyright 1997, Information Inc. Courtesy of MCI)

Upcoming Events

Agents on the Web
Feb. 26, 7:00 pm, Nat'l Science Foundation, Arlington, VA
Contact: ( or (
Mike McMorris of PLS discusses the Web and agent technology. Free.

Java Design
Feb. 27, 6:30-8:00 pm, Computer Literacy Bookstore, Tysons Corner, VA
Presentation by Peter Coad, author of "Java Design: Building Better Apps and Applets" on better design inspired by Java. Free.

Class On The Internet
Mar. 4, 4:00-6:00 pm, GWU Marvin Center, Washington, DC
Contact: (
Session for educators on "implications for lesson planning and curriculum development" examining a seminar offered to high school students in Potomac, MD. Sponsored by GWU's Cyberspace Policy Institute. Free.

Your Business and the Internet: A Practical Forum for Executives
Mar. 6, 7:30-10:00 am, Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, VA
Contact: (
Seminar sponsored by The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project and the Washington Business Journal. Executive panelists share experiences on expanding their businesses to the Internet and the impact on their organizations. Panelists include: Brian Garr, CTO of Globalink, Inc.; Larry Lux, Senior VP and Managing Director of National Geographic Interactive; and Catherine Yandel, VP and Division Director for BTG's Information Solutions Division. $50.

Venture Financing For Rising Technology Companies
Mar. 6, 8:00 am-noon, Tower Club, Vienna, VA
Contact: Warren Martin at 703-918-3129 before Feb. 27
Speakers on "raising capital from external sources" sponsored by Coopers & Lybrand, Gordon & Glickson, P.C. and Geocapital Partners. Free.

Computers In Libraries Conference
Mar. 10-12, Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA
Contact: ( North America's largest technology conference and exhibition for librarians and information managers.

Digital Dilemmas: Defining Ethics in the Internet Age
Mar. 12, 8:30 am-1:00 pm, Marymount University, Arlington, VA
Contact: (
Conference for high-tech companies, consumer advocates, cybernauts, academicians and policy makers surveying the landscape of ethical considerations in the Internet Age. Speakers and panelists include: Rep. Tom Bliley, Chairman, House Commerce Committee; John Sidgmore, CEO of UUNet, Technologies, Inc.; Bill Melton, President and CEO of CyberCash, Inc.; Don Heath, President of the Internet Society; Tom Kalil, Senior Director to the National Economic Council and many others. $100. $40 for students. Register by Mar. 5.

Venture Capital Due Diligence: How It Works
Mar. 12, 7:30-9:30 am
Holiday Inn Tysons Corner, McLean, VA
Contact: Scott Gilmore (
B-W Venture Group Networking Breakfast sponsored by the Univ. of Maryland's Dingman Center.

Business Growth of Privately Held Companies
Mar. 12, 8:00-10:30 am, McLean Hilton, McLean, VA
Contact: Lynn McUmber at 703/-917-1724
Second in a seminar series on Strategic Planning for Growing Technology Companies sponsored by area businesses. Others in the series include: How to Successfully Plan and Execute an IPO, Apr. 12; and Now You Are Public, June 4. $45 each seminar.

How To Build A Successful Consulting Business
Mar. 17, 7:30-9:30 am
Entrepreneurs Workshop, Univ. of MD Baltimore County
Contact: Scott Gilmore (
B-W Venture Group Networking Breakfast sponsored by the Univ. of Maryland's Dingman Center.

Networked Economy Conference
Mar. 18-19, Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, McLean, VA
Contact: (
Presentations and panels by "the world's foremost business, technology and political leaders whose visions shape the Networked Economy." including Marc Andreessen, Eric Benhamou, Steve Case and Larry Ellison. $1250.

Communication Design Engineering Conference
Mar. 25-27, Washington Convention Center
Contact: (
60 tutorials offered over three days to help designers and engineers of telecommunications and data communications equipment "keep abreast of the latest technologies and applications."

First Annual Conference of Univ. Entrepreneurship Centers
Mar. 27-28, Maryland Business School, College Park, MD
Contact: Scott Gilmore (
Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation.

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