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Summer 2000
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Anderson M.B.A.s have actually done remarkably well in the volatile Internet sector. Stamps.com, the successful on-line stamp business, has become a school legend. Its three cofounders were Anderson students, one of whom got the idea for the company when he needed a stamp in the middle of the night and couldn't find one.

Even though it was barely three years ago, "I don't think people were really aware of what the Internet could do," says Jeffrey Green M.B.A. '97, one of the founders.

Green and his partners began working on Stamps.com early in their second year. Their professors were supportive, but they also doubted the students could pull it off. First off, they needed a government license, which wouldn't be easy to obtain. Second, they were facing daunting competition from postal-meter giant Pitney Bowles. There was also the matter of their age. When Green and his friends began banging on the doors of venture capitalists, they were, well, kids.

"People were mostly respectful. Although they thought the idea was solid, a lot of people came back with different reasons they would pass. No one said, 'You guys are too young,' but I got the feeling that was probably the case a lot of the time. The worst thing would be investors saying, 'That will never happen, this meeting is over,' without really talking to us."

It took them only nine months to raise $6 million from three Southern California venture-capital firms. Last June, the $600-million company went public, but Green and his partners left in December to launch another Internet start-up called Archive.com. This time, it took them just two months to get their first round of funding. "When you say you're the founder of Stamps.com, they take your call, they lose their skepticism," Green says.

As for where the Internet frenzy will take future Anderson M.B.A.s, you may as well glean the answer by reading Tarot cards. Al Osborne, who has run four public companies, seems to have the clearest view.

"When I talk about the Internet, I say, 'This is a little like Columbus setting out to find the riches of the Orient and instead discovering the New World.' The Internet is not just another challenge to sell stuff. It's going to change how we live and work. We are stumbling across gold every time we click and go on cyberspace.

"We ain't seen nothing yet," he grins.

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