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News Center Top Story Archives
Week of April 17th, 1997
Issue 8, Volume II
1. Positioning Your Company For Early-Stage Financing
New Advisors Center At The Exchange
1. Proxicom Helps Kemper Insurance Build Online Community
2. TIGR Makes Human Gene Database Available On The Web
3. CD-MAX Changes Name To IMARK
4. PSINet Doubles Customer Count
5. Alcatel Adds Priority Feature To Frame Relay
6. Coupon Advertising Spawns New Web Presences
1. CAIS And GTE Codetel Open Latin American Access Point
2. CyberCash Acquires Technology From Carnegie Mellon
1. Envista Brings Pfingsten Partners To The Web
2. Venture Capital Institute Site
3. Automating Venture Capital Deal Flow
1. Entrepreneurship & The Internet
2. KnowledgeWay Announces Five-Year Goals And New Web Site Area
1. 8 Million High-Speed Internet Homes In 2001

News About The Netpreneur Program

Faster than you can say "push technology," what started out as a modest idea from Coffee and DoughNets meetings -- gathering a small group of netpreneurs with experienced CEOs and investors to talk about getting themselves and their companies ready for financing-- has turned into a major community event. In response to the special email we sent out last week about the April 30 CEO Forum, Positioning Your Company For Early-Stage Financing, over 250 people have already registered and three new participants have joined the evening's program-- Charlie Heller, Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland will be on the stage; and Tony Carter, Chairman of International Business Group, and Angela Tandy, President of the Baltimore-Washington Venture Group, will both join us as featured guests. All of the 13 panelists and featured guests are named at ( where you can find more information and register online.

The idea behind the event is to hold a forum where you can ask questions of key players in our region. Gene Riechers, Managing Director of Technology Venture Capital at Friedman, Billings Ramsey and a featured guest, is attending so that he can learn about interesting companies involved in Net businesses. "I see this as an opportunity for a lot of people to learn quickly from each other," says Riechers. "The chance to share ideas in a group like this is often much more successful and productive."

We may have left small behind, but not interactive or casual. If you are coming to the session, roll up your sleeves, leave the snappy maroon tie at home and come prepared to talk. There won't be any lengthy presentations. The Forum -- April 30, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Premiere, Tysons Corner -- will be a rare opportunity to pick the brains of people who have been there. While we can't say you will leave with a list of interested funders or the magic checklist, we hope you will get some sound ideas about how to make your business more effective and, hence, more appealing to potential investors. And you will get answers to questions like: What do investors look for in a company and in the netpreneur as the leader of a new business or idea? What criteria do they use in assessing your chances for success? What pitfalls should you avoid? And what alternative sources of financing should you consider for early stage support?

Are you a fledgling netpreneur in search of opportunity, contacts and professional advice? If so, check out the newly-unveiled Advisors section of Netpreneur Exchange ( Advisors offers links to people and organizations that help netpreneurs with questions on growing, financing and promoting their digital age business. With direct access to mentors through a partnership with the University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, you can find help with just one click. There is also a link to the Virginia Coalition for Netpreneur Development, a pilot program that helps public sector business assistance organizations understand the opportunities in Virginia, as well as facilitating the exchange of information and ideas to better serve netpreneurs. This section of the site will be growing, so keep on the lookout for more!

Regional Netpreneurs

(McLean, VA) Proxicom has helped Kemper Insurance Companies create an online community where consumers can interact with each other and learn about insurance through a variety of articles, discussion groups and games. Kemper's site, located at (, features discussion areas within the "going to college" and "how to file a claim" areas where browsers can interact with each other and share stories and suggestions. The site also features a search engine to locate local agents, information on home and auto safety, a Main Street Business section featuring information on building a business and starting a franchise, an interactive timeline and an area designed specifically for Kemper agents. In addition, the site has a number of fun features including "the Mad Driver's" driving game, "Jake the Fire Cat" fire safety game and a "Fraud Busters" quiz.

(Rockville, MD) Beginning Saturday, April 19, researchers around the world will have free Internet access to the most current and comprehensive scientific database of the human genome. The information bank will be released on the Web by The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a not-for-profit research institution ( The massive database will hold full-length gene sequences and more than 600,000 Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) from worldwide cDNA sequencing efforts and 63,000 Tentative Human Consensus sequences (THCs). The data contained in the Index hold potentially important implications for researchers seeking data on human genes, gene expression and genetic links to diseases. Researchers will be able to search data in the TIGR Human Gene Index using their own protein or nucleic acid sequences and examine detailed expression data associated with the sequences. TIGR expects to add more data as it continues working to obtain full-length gene sequences and large stretches of human genomic sequence.

(Reston, VA) CD-MAX, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAXX), a provider of metering, transaction processing and billing services for publishers of electronic information, is adopting the name "IMARK Technologies, Inc." IMARK ( was derived from "information marketing technologies," a generic description of the company's business purpose. "Today our business extends beyond our CD-ROM solutions to include enabling technology for Internet-based electronic commerce," said Robert Wiedemer, President and CEO. The company will do business as IMARK Technologies, Inc., subject to formal shareholder approval at the next annual meeting. The Nasdaq stock symbol will remain MAXX.

(Herndon, VA) PSINet Inc. (Nasdaq: PSIX) announced that it provided service to over 20,900 corporate customers during the first quarter of 1997, more than doubling the number in the first quarter of 1996. The number of PSINet's wholesale ISP contracts reached 33, an increase of 50% since the end of 1996. The company's PSIWeb service hosted 3,200 customers globally during the first quarter of 1997, almost three times the customers hosted in the first quarter of 1996, and a 26% increase over the previous quarter. PSINet ( recently ranked first among all dedicated commercial ISPs, and third overall, in a recent survey conducted by Network World.

(Ashburn, VA) Alcatel Data Networks today announced what it claims is the industry's most powerful traffic management capabilities for its QUICKFRAD suite of Frame Relay Access Devices. The new feature allows users to prioritize one type of data over another, providing qualities of service (QoS) in a Frame Relay network similar to those offered by ATM. The features were developed in response to increasing demand for sending voice over Frame Relay in conjunction with other types of data. For example, a bank could replace an existing network of leased lines with Frame Relay, establishing financial transactions as the highest priority, with LAN data as a lower priority. QUICKFRAD provides access to Frame Relay networks at speeds from 56 Kbps to T1/E1. Alcatel, a provider of data communications systems, is a joint venture owned by Alcatel Alsthom and Sprint.

(Baltimore, MD) H.O.T! Coupons, Inc. ( is the largest online coupon Web site on the Internet and the first to provide a "geo-demographic" search engine for ease and convenience. Customers can obtain savings on local, regional or national products in the US and Canada by entering a zip code, city or state locator. With over 30,000 advertisers online, H.O.T! Coupons is affiliated with Money Mailer, Inc., which sends out 3 billion coupons to 110 million homes annually. The advertisers are local, regional and national clients of Money Mailer, Inc.'s 450+ franchises. There are over 200 categories ranging from household, restaurant and auto care to dental, eye care and gyms. Local advertisers reap the benefits of international exposure for their products and services on the site, which can then be translated into store traffic. The creators of H.O.T! Coupons have had so many requests from franchise businesses, they have recently spun off a new company, e.magination network, llc. ( to develop Web presences for businesses.


(Washington, DC) CAIS Internet, a division of CGX Communications, and telecommunications giant GTE CODETEL are creating the first Latin American Internet access point for the Caribbean and Central and South America. The regional Internet Network Access Point will be called the Latin Internet Exchange (LIX). As one of only a handful of access points to the Internet worldwide, it's placement in Latin America will provide the region with an entirely new gateway for Internet access. The new service is designed to make Latin American Internet connections faster and smoother while creating new information business opportunities. LIX will reside in Santo Domingo and will be a state-of-the-art facility monitored by a 2,400-square-foot Network Operations Center with multiple high-speed undersea fiber optic cables and connections to three Intelsat satellites.

(Reston, VA) CyberCash, Inc., (Nasdaq: CYCH) and Carnegie Mellon University announced an agreement which commercializes a new generation of advanced micropayment technology for electronic commerce, called NetBill. The NetBill technology enables an Internet billing system for consumers and merchants to conduct secure transactions over the Internet. Under the agreement, CyberCash acquires worldwide rights to commercially use and sublicense NetBill. In addition, CyberCash will work with Carnegie Mellon University to advance the University's research into network-based Internet payment systems. The NetBill technology was developed by students, faculty and staff of the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon University with research support from the US National Science Foundation through its Digital Library Initiative, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and corporate sponsors.

Funding & Finance News

(Arlington, VA) Envista has built and manages a new Web site for Deerfield, IL-based Pfingsten Partners, L.P., a private equity investment firm. The site at ( is intended to distribute information about Pfingsten's investment interests and fundraising documentation. Founded in 1989, the company provides equity capital to acquire and grow middle market companies. The site details Pfingsten's investment criteria, portfolio companies and management background. Pfingsten launched the Web site in conjunction with raising a second investment fund of $75 million. The site applies the latest technique in limited partnership fundraising: an accredited investor only area that distributes the firm's offering memoranda on-line. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements are addressed with controlled distribution of individual passwords to interested and qualified investors.

(Washington, DC) A new Venture Capital Institute (VCI) Web site was inaugurated here on April 15. VCI is a professional education course for venture industry professionals. Students include executives forming new venture or private equity firms, those who have recently joined the industry, or those from institutions or corporations investing in venture capital funds. The 23rd Annual VCI, sponsored by the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), will take place September 7-11, 1997 in Atlanta. Successful program applicants enjoy in-depth, personal instruction from industry leaders. The Institute's Envista-developed Web site ( provides details on the organization, agenda, fees, application process and faculty.

(Arlington, VA) No, we don't have a relative at Envista, but the company does have lots of news this week. They have released a new software product, Thresher, a decision support system that helps private equity firms sort through the business plans they receive. According to the company, the average venture capital group will spend $40,000 to $50,000 per year in staff time and resources: receiving, sorting, reviewing and responding to unsolicited business plans or other funding inquiries. Thresher automates the initial selection process by combining proprietary, evaluative rule-based software with Internet technology. Entrepreneurs who seek money are asked to complete an electronic form that outlines their venture and financial requirements. The data supplied is filtered and evaluated against the investment firm's criteria. Those ventures that don't meet certain parameters are rejected automatically and receive a polite email to that effect. Those that meet the firm's initial selection criteria are scored, ranked and a digested profile is made available to the firm's associates for further evaluation. Information is kept in a database. Envista ( will tailor each installation to the investment criteria and management practices of individual firms

Regional News

On April 23, get ahead of the challenges of merging entrepreneurship and corporate use of the Internet at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Washington Technology will host this second event in a three-part Internet Business series that provides an insider's look at the commercial side of the Net. Speakers include the Netpreneur Program's own Mario Morino; Ralph Terkowitz, Vice President/Technology of the Washington Post Company; and Russ Ramsey, President, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey and Co. The program will focus on financing netpreneurship, innovative marketing and turning content into revenue. For more information and to register call 703-848-2800 ext. 105. If you tell them you heard about it through Netpreneur News, Washington Technology will knock $25 off the $100 registration fee.

In an effort to establish the Greater Washington region as the global center for knowledge industries, the Potomac KnowledgeWay Project ( recently announced its five-year goals at its Development Campaign Kickoff. To accomplish these goals, the Potomac KnowledgeWay is focusing on three strategic areas: fostering the growth of new and existing companies in the knowledge industries; producing, recruiting and retaining a skilled work force capable of competing in a global information-driven economy; and connecting our community at all levels to the opportunities in the Digital Age. Concurrently, the Project added a new section to its Web site, entitled "The Campaign for the Potomac KnowledgeWay." This section includes the Potomac KnowledgeWay's campaign statement, its five-year goals and investor benefits. In addition, the section includes information on the use of investor funds and profiles of the investors. For more information visit the Development Campaign section on the KnowledgeWay's Web site at (

Quick Hits

(Washington, DC) The Strategis Group's latest study, High Speed Internet Access: A Consumer Demand Study, says that 20% of US homes will subscribe to high-speed Internet service for at least $40 a month, when it becomes available, and over 40% of current online users will pay that much. Most non-online homes, however, will wait for prices to decline and for more compelling content to emerge, according to the national survey of 500 US households. The report says that fewer than 150,000 homes will subscribe to high-speed services by the end of 1997, but that number will grow to nearly 8 million in 2001, when high-speed Internet subscription revenues will approach $4 billion. The Strategis Group (formerly MTA-EMCI) publishes in-depth market research reports and provides customized consulting services to the cable TV, satellite, and wireless communications industries. The new report is available for $1600. Contact Melani Abarro at (

Upcoming Events

For more information on these and other regional events of interest to netpreneurs and funders, visit the Netpreneur Exchange calendar at (

April 21---On-Line Investing: Can Establishment Brokers Compete?
April 22---Resources for Internet Businesses
April 22---Tips & Traps In Negotiating With Venture Capitalists
April 23---Entrepreneurship And The Internet
April 23---Internet@Work
April 23---Microsoft Web Design Seminar
April 24---CIO Forum - Groupware: The Battle of Email/Groupware Products
April 25---InfoBits: Ballston Information Technology Showcase
April 30---Positioning Your Company For Early-Stage Financing
April 30---NetGain Seminar
April 30---Emerging Business Network
May 2-----Capital Region Technology Investor Conference Breakfast
May 6-----New Media Society CyberSuds
May 6-----INTERgeNETics: Forces Evolving the Net
May 7-----The Entrepreneur on the Internet

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