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Summer 2000
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Older and more experienced, she's notably more mellow and less calculating than her younger counterparts. And she's openly critical of the lack of social consciousness the dot-com culture has bred. Her parents were both public school teachers, and her first job out of college was on the sales floor at Macy's in downtown San Francisco.

Asked if she ever imagined being a CEO of a dot-com, she laughs and says no. The irony of where she is now doesn't escape her in the least. "I'm not really an e-commerce person," she says.

MacDonald applied to Anderson after her roommate brought an application home for her. When she started, in fall of 1986, it was a primitive world. "It was the ugly old building," she says of the business school, "and the big things were investment banking and consulting. Obviously, nobody was doing any dot-coms." Although the school did have a computer lab, "I don't think people really used it."

While current M.B.A.s seem to be as savvy about raising money as Donald Trump, MacDonald was admittedly green when she started PrintPaks. Thinking it was enough, she and her partner, an investment banker, launched the company with $100,000 of their own money. A month later, realizing they needed more, MacDonald called a member of HP's board, who'd offered to help, who then introduced her to his friend, David Marquardt. "I hadn't heard of David Marquardt," says MacDonald with a laugh of the man who put together the financing for Microsoft. "We met with him, and he was so excited about it. Then, as soon as the word hit the street, I started getting all these calls from venture capitalists."

By comparison, obtaining funding for Kibu.com was a cakewalk. It took MacDonald and her partners, Molly Lynch, a former executive at Excite@home.com, and Dave Roux, chairman of Silver Lake Partners, just four months to raise $22 million. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, perhaps the top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, kicked in a substantial amount, while Jim Clark and Tom Jermoluk, Lynch's former boss at Excite, contributed more than 50 percent of the funding through their investment arm, the Helix Fund. They also had in their favor a powerhouse board, including ICM chairman Jeffrey Berg.

Although venture capitalists have grown stingier in the wake of this spring's high-tech industry shakeout, MacDonald and her partners weren't affected. "It was easy for a number of reasons," she explains. "Last year was a good year to raise money-the fact that we had management with a track record, we had a very big market that clearly nobody had gotten attached to and the kind of people who were already behind it."

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