Notice on TER meeting tomorrow night, fob.com…
January 24, 2000
The May Report
by Ron May
The May Report: 1/24/2000: Notice on TER meeting tomorrow night, fob.com…
Odds and ends: fob.com, clickcommerce.com, a note about the TER meeting
tomorrow night, and a note from Liz Ryan. Ben Assisa also reports that he got
funding. So did go2call.com, but they are in the next e-mail. They got $3MM
from First Analysis and they are in the voice over IP business, which is a
fancy way of saying make long distance calls, especially international calls,
over the internet. That market is just going to explode.
I am sorry that I did not see the e-mail for this month’s TER meeting and as
a result it did not make my list of events.
These problems will be over next week because I have a full-time
administrative person starting.
I misspelled the name of David Weinstein’s replacement. It is Katherine Gehl,
not Gale. She was on the committee of the Mayor’s Council of Technology
Advisors that Bob Bernard chaired. I believe it was the school committee. Her
e-mail is email@example.com and David’s e-mail is
Here at The May Report, we are not perfect, far from it, but we admit our
mistakes right away, if possible.
I am exhausted and have a huge amount of information to go over for you. I
interviewed many people at the weekend conference, and then we have not
finished from the six events last Thursday, nor from all the scoops I listed,
and info. from the AIP meeting, etc. All in all, it is more than ten events,
and I am counting the DFC as only one, even though it was a two day affair. I
am going to work on it tonight, and we still have your e-mails to me, etc. I
know I will get through it, but the task is monumental. The people I
interviewed include Mike McCaskey of the Chicago Bears and socialite, mystery
novelist Sugar Rautbord who invests in dotcoms, believe it or not.
I went to the Business Marketing Association meeting at which Patrick Blake
spoke about fob.com and fobchemicals.com. It was a good talk and he did a
good job explaining a complicated subject. They got $6MM in angel funding
from some high profile people last year (say August or September time frame)
and they are closing in three weeks on a very large sum of VC money. Pat
would not say how much, but it is well in excess of $10MM, probably $25MM or
more is my guess based on how he said it. They are planning entry into three
new markets: paper, food ingredients, and plastics.
He would not say who the VCs are, but they are probably out-of-town, based on
what Pat intimated.
I asked him about whether they talked to divine since they are smack dab in
the middle of the B2B market and he said they did, but a deal never
materialized. I asked the reason and he declined to say, but upon further
questioning he did not dispute my assertion that it was because divine wants
too much money, by dint of their requirements based on the 1940 Securities
Act. He even said it had to do with issues surrounding that Act which
requires divine or CMGI to own 50% plus of the firms they invest in (on
Their angel investors included Craig Duchossois, Dick’s son, I believe),
Pierre Peterson of Peterson and Haupt, Paul Davies from AON, Dean Bontracht
(spelling?) from Waste. There were about 20 angels at $300K each. That’s a
pretty good average.
With respect to their business model, which I am going to have to explain in
much more detail, the key is that they aggregate buyers and cut a better deal
for them than they are getting with the distributors now. They take a part of
that spread, of course. Now, it does get complicated.
The aggregation of buyers issue is one way the fob.com model differs from the
Commerx model. I interviewed Tim Stojka at some length at the DFC at Kellogg
Pat’s co-founder is Greg Buchholz and they have a couple people with domain
experience as well. Pat was one of the three founders of Tunes.com, then
JamTV.com, with Howard Tullman and Jerry Michelson. Pat is a sharp guy who
comes out of an investment banking background, (I believe he said Bear
Stearns). He did say that they have about 30 people now, and have not spent
most of the angel money they got.
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Seeking ColdFusion/Database contract. I am an independent consultant with
more than 10 years experience developing systems using databases, especially
Oracle. I’ve just taken the Fast Track to Cold Fusion course. View my online
resume at rosenaur.com/resume_html.htm.
A gentleman named Wagner called this morning from Click Commerce (they
changed their name from Click Interactive) to be added to my list. He has
been there two weeks and he is a recruiting manager, and he comes from, you
guessed it, SSA. That is where Click has recruited many of its people from
since Bob Markese (spelling?) took over. Anyway, they are meeting on
Wednesday with Morgan Stanley and the S-1 may be filed later in the week or
early next week. He did not know, but this is what I am guessing based on
what Michael Ferro, the CEO, told me.
I joked with Wagner that he obviously was not the retention manager at SSA.
When he started two and a half years ago, they had 2,614 poeple. They are
down to 1,100. That is what four restructurings will do to you. The CEO there
now comes from IBM, as did the one they got rid of a few years ago (Ford, I
think). What this story does do is remind me of how we tend to forget our
traditional software industry, but when those firms have problems, they will
feed the talent needs of our dotcoms.
The more interesting question I would like to look into is what all these SSA
people are doing to the culture at Click. Are original Click people leaving?
How has the SSA crowd changed the place, or has it? I am just asking, I have
no hard info. here.
I heard today that as a result of my writings on Trading Technologies, their
lawyers are now contacting all employees who left because of termination or
voluntarily, and requesting that they do not say anything about the firm.
Gee, how am I going to get my stories if they don’t talk?
Kelly Fitzsimmons told me today that I forgot to mention that the Pat Martin
talk (excellent) I attended last week was at the monthly Webgrrls meeting.
Date: 1/24/2000 12:55:14 PM Central Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ben Aissa)
we closed a 9 Million – 3 year deal with a company in Silicon Valley…we
are looking for bridge financing (from angels) until we get picked up
VC’s… can you suggest any angels that we could contact ?
Jim Nalepa, one of Chicago’s top retained Internet/E-Commerce executive
is seeking candidates for the following positions..
Chief Operating Officer(COO), classic B2C internet start up. Fine Art
reproductions from exclusive,licenced, european archive, custom framed upon
request. B2C experience with strong operations background desired. Plans for
New York base, but would come to Chicago for the right candidate. Excellent
Vice President, Sales, exciting, well funded, Advertising/Promotional site.
Strong Internet advertising sales experience is a must. Team player and team
builder. Excellent support team in place to make this happen. Excellent
package with big bonus and equity upside. Chicago based.
Please call Jim Nalepa at 312-782-1581, or e-mail resume to JimNalepa@aol.com
From: “Anne Persaud”
plus many others.
Subject: January TER
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 12:13:33 -0600
TER 2000 – Technology Executive Roundtable
January 25, 2000 Tuesday
Messages From the Future (Again):
See Tomorrow’s News Today
Presented by Charlie Athanas of Burning City, Inc.
12 months ago, Charlie Athanas presented some topics that he felt you
should pay attention to in 1999. Those topics included: the Linux OS; MP3;
E-commerce (sounds silly now, but twelve months ago most companies weren’t
sure whether it was time to jump on this technology “fad”);
Technopolis/Wired Communities; Electronic Books; Personal LAN; and the
issue of Broadband vs Broadcast. Had you paid attention in 1999 to
companies in some these fields, like Red Hat and MP3.com, you would be a
financially happy person right now.
Charlie will present techniques for you and your company to help spot these
kinds of trends and the roundtable will provide an opportunity to hear
other technology executives, including yourself, try their hand at being
the next digital Nostredamus. Information is power and knowing what
tomorrow might bring creates value at all planning levels from personal to
corporate. Learn methods to extract messages from the future out of the
overwhelming and constant stream of information presented to you
twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
This is a popular program, so sign up early.
6:00 PM Networking
6:30 PM Roundtable
$45 per person ($35 for Evanston TIC Incubator companies) – includes dinner.
RSVP please to Anne Persaud by Friday, Jan.21
(email@example.com or 847-869-8900)
(Seating is limited. Cash/check required for entry to the event)
Omni Orrington Hotel, 1710 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, IL
TER 2000 is sponsored by:
Audiocast – www.audiocast.net/
Freeborn & Peters – freebornpeters.com/
Inner Solutions Corp – is3.com/
PricewaterhouseCoopers – www.pwcglobal.com/
TIC: The Incubator – theincubator.com/
TER Program Director: Charlie Athanas | Burning City, Inc. -
Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park
1033 University Place
Evanston, IL 60201
847/869-8900 fax 847/869-8986
Subj: Wits, old and new
Date: 1/22/2000 3:03:25 PM Central Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Ryan)
Congratulations on your growing sphere of influence! Hope you are well. I
want to let you know what’s up with ChicWit (Chicago Women in Technology)
since I saw you before Christmas. As you saw, our meeting was well attended
and high-energy and we’re planning a busy 2000 calendar of ChicWit networking
events and seminars, including a number of programs that will be co-hosted
with other groups in town. The list-serv is up to almost 700 people and
quickly becoming an essential network for career advice, job leads and
resources for Chicago’s women in digital businesses. Also, you’ll
be happy to know that our success here has produced two fast-growing
ChicWit clones: MassWit, for Massachusetts Women in Technology (over 100
subscribers after three weeks, including most of the female CEOs of Boston
startups – not that there are NEARLY enough of them!) and NycWit, for New
York City and tri-state area women in tech businesses, new media, ecommerce,
and etc. To subscribe to any of these lists, you just send an email to
subscribe-[list name here: cwit, masswit or nycwit]@topica.com. Or email me.