Summer 2000 @ucla.com
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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
ain't seen nothing yet," he grins.