Technolgy 100 - The Leaders who will shape New York
accounts of the downfall of Silicon Alley might surmise that
New York's technology sector consists entirely of new media.
As Crain's Tech 100 attests, that's hardly the case. The list
includes digital artists, CIOs, biotech leaders, educators,
heads of nonprofits, analysts, venture capitalists and
executives at giants Cisco, Compaq, Microsoft and AOL Time
Warner. Although the Tech 100 is not definitive, it represents
the diversity of the industry. And despite recent turmoil in
the sector, those on the list are likely to shape the
direction and growth of New York's economy--beyond
technology--for years to come.
Nicholas A. Adamo, Cisco Systems Inc.
The Tech 100 mini
profiles were written by Laurie Joan Aron, Stephen Grandel,
Michael Ha, Alice Lipowicz, Judith Messina, Miriam Kreinin
Souccar, Alexia Vargas, Mark Walsh and Heike
Maxwell Anderson, Whitney Museum of American Art
Charles Ardai, Juno Online Services Inc.
Gregor Bailar, Nasdaq Stock Market
Zoë Baird, Markle Foundation
John Baker, Baker Capital Corp.
Marc H. Bell, Globix Corp.
Bruce E. Bernstein, New York Software Industry Association
Henry Blodget, Merrill Lynch & Co.
Denis Bovin, Bear Stearns & Co.
David J. Brand, Lehman Brothers Inc.
Steve Brotman, Silicon Alley Venture Partners
Red Burns, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts
Nicholas Butterworth, Viacom Inc.
Lawrence Calcano, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Jerome A. Chazen , Chazen Capital Partners
Jay Chiat, ScreamingMedia Inc.
Doug Cifu, Paul Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
James Citrin, Spencer Stuart
Gerald Cohen, Information Builders Inc.
Jerry Colonna, Flatiron Partners
Jeffrey Dachis, Razorfish Inc.
Kimberly Daly, Microsoft Corp.
John Delaney, Morrison & Foerster
Mario Dell' Aera, KPMG
Gene DeRose, Jupiter Media Metrix
Jason Devitt, Vindigo Inc.
David Diamond, Russell Reynolds Associates
Joe Digeso, Time Warner Cable of New York City
Allan H. Dobrin, NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
Robert Druskin, Citigroup Inc.
Karin Duncker, New Yrok Biotechnology
Kevin Dunwoody, Compaq computer Corp.
Esther Dyson, EDventure Holdings Inc.
Kathleen Earley, AT&T Data & Internet Services
Fernando Espuelas, StarMedia Network Inc.
Rubi Finkelstein, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Robert Fish, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Michael Flannery, Redwood Partners
Mitch Gipson, Audubon Biomedical Science & Technology Park
Eric Goldberg, Unploygged Games
Carl Goodman, American museum of the Moving Image
Raj Gupta, YadaYada Inc.
Jack Hidary, EarthWeb Inc.
James Johnson, Alloy Online Inc.
Richard Johnson, HotJobs.com Inc.
Isaak Karaev, Multex.com Inc.
Ann Kirschner, Fathom Knowledge Network Inc.
Bob Kitts, Thomas Weisel Partners
Jason Kilot, Blow Up Pictures
Scott Kurnit, Primedia Inc.
Paul Lacouture, Verizon Network Service Group
Robert Lessin, Wit SoundView Group Inc.
Arnold Levine, Rockefeller University
Alexander Lynch, Wilson SonsiniGoodrich & Rosati
Franklin Madison, Industrial Technology Assistance Corp.
Douglas McCormick, iVillage Inc.
Dipen Mehta, IBM's Global net Generation Business-NY Metro
Benjamin Narasin, fashionmall.com Inc.
Jeffrey Neuburger, Brown Raysman Millstein Fedler & Steiner
Martin Nisenholtz, New York Times Digital
Denis O'Leary, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Alice O'Rourke, New York New Media Association
Carol Parkinson, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center
Charles Phillips, Morgan Stanley & Co.
Robert Pittman, AOL Time Warner Inc.
Jules Polonetsky, DoubleClick Inc.
Mark Popolano, American International Group Inc.
Tim Purcell, J.P. Morgan Partners' Latin America Group
Rosalind Resnick, NetCreations Inc.
Steve Riggio, barnesandnoble.com
James Robinson, RRE Ventures
William Rudin, Rudin Management Co.
Kevin Ryan, DoubleClick Inc.
Glen Salow, American Express Co.
Edwin Schlossberg, Edwin Schlossberg Inc.
Walter Schubert, Gay Financial Network Inc.
Ken Seiff, Bluefly Inc.
Dhiren Shah, Morgan Stanley & Co.
Bill Squadron, Sportvision Inc.
Janet Stites, AlleyCat Information Sciences
Elizabeth Stock, Computers for Youth
Bruce Strzelczyk, Richard A. Eisner & Co.
Chan Suh, Agency.com Ltd.
Benjamin Sun, Community Connect Inc.
Ravi Suria, Duquesne Capital Management
Nicholas Tanzi, Metromedia Fiber Network Inc.
Kevin Tice, Credit Suisse First Boston
Jackson Tung, New York City Board of Education
Neil Tyson, American Museum of Natural History
Harold Varmus, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Kristin Wait, Korn/Ferry International
Samuel Waksal, ImClone Systems Inc.
Jeffrey Walker, J.P. Morgan Partners
Omar Wasow, BlackPlanet.com
Fred Wilson, Flatiron Partners
Joanne Wilson, Marketing Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education
Nina Zagat, Zagat Survey and Zagat.com
Tami Zori, Silicon Alley Connections
Nicholas A. Adamo
Vice President, Northeast Area
Cisco Systems Inc.
Cisco Systems, the network equipment maker, may be suffering some financial difficulties;
two weeks ago it reported its first overall quarterly loss in its 11-year history.
But New York customers using its access servers, telephony products and software
are feeling no pain. That’s mostly because of Nicholas Adamo.
Mr. Adamo is in charge of the organization that not only sells Cisco products
from New Jersey to Maine but also tries to keep each and every customer happy,
including those notoriously demanding ones in New York City. Mr. Adamo is responsible
for more than 1,000 accounts in the city alone-mostly top corporate clients-which
make up 10% of Cisco’s total sales.
"We have been known time and time again to do whatever it takes to get our
customers’ networks up and operational in a crunch," explains Mr. Adamo,
who has plenty of Fortune 500 clients in his region. "We are also there to
support them in times of outages or problems. We’ll drop what we’re
doing to get it done. And in this tough community, that is essential."
Juno Online Services Inc.
Charles Ardai didn’t imagine he’d be running an Internet company when
he graduated from Columbia University in 1991 with an English degree. But four
years later, he started Juno with hedge fund wizard David E. Shaw, whose firm
Mr. Ardai had joined after college.
Since then, the Silicon Alley company has become an Internet service provider
with 4 million active users and 16 million registered subscribers.
While Juno now ranks as one of the nation’s biggest ISPs, Mr. Ardai has had
a harder time proving that a free service can become profitable. Over the years,
Juno has added advertising, subscription-only premium services and different types
of e-commerce to reach that goal. Most recently, Juno embarked on a controversial
plan to boost revenues by selling the unused processing power residing in subscribers’
A former pulp fiction writer before joining D.E. Shaw & Co., Mr. Ardai will
have to come up with new plotlines to keep Juno’s story going.
Director Whitney Museum of American Art
Techie museum chief maps digital landscape
by Miriam Kreinin Souccar
When Maxwell Anderson came to the Whitney Museum of American Art two years
ago, the institution was practically in the dark ages of digital.
To Mr. Anderson, his next move was obvious: The first thing he did was get Internet
access for his staff and build an interactive Web site for the museum. After
that, the Whitney director forged ahead, creating digital art exhibits-both
on-line and off-line-well beyond what other museums have done. He also used
the Internet to create partnerships with museums around the world.
"In the past, museums have collaborated only on exhibitions, not on acquisitions
and information exchange, and I’m hoping we can change that landscape,"
says Mr. Anderson, who came to the Whitney from the Art Gallery of Ontario in
Toronto, where he had been director since 1995. Before that, he was director
of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta.
Digital art pioneer
Mr. Anderson has long been an advocate of using technology to create synergies
among museums. As director of the 5-year-old Art Museum Network, he has helped
build a database of exhibition information from 200 of the world’s leading
art museums. Before that, in Toronto, he founded the Art Museum Image Consortium,
a group of 30 art museums in North America that have pooled their works into
a database for use by teachers and students around the world.
"A couple other museums have aspirations to be leaders in technology, but
they haven’t in any way achieved the tangible results that Max has,"
says Tim Nye, chief executive of Alltrue Networks Inc., a Manhattan-based on-line
video and broadband company, and a member of the Whitney’s tech advisory
committee. "He’s extremely pragmatic and sets very achievable goals."
Though Mr. Anderson advocates collaboration, he seems determined to maintain
the leadership role for the Whitney in these activities.
When the Museum of Modern Art announced last month that it would work with retiring
Harvard University President Neil Rudenstine to create a digital database of
images from museum collections for use in art history classes, Mr. Anderson
was quick to point out that MoMA would basically be duplicating his efforts.
Mr. Anderson, who has a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard and speaks five languages,
is a self-described "techie." In one of his earlier jobs in the Eighties,
as assistant curator of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
he was the first one there to buy a laptop.
"I have always been seduced by the toys," he says.
Making the museum a destination
Mr. Anderson, 45, was chosen to head the Whitney in part to bring a more scholarly
approach to the museum and to make the well-regarded 71-year-old institution
Returning to Manhattan after 11 years, Mr. Anderson-son of a distinguished professor
of American Literature at Columbia University-has quickly become a figure around
town. On Saturdays, he makes the rounds of the Chelsea galleries with his 5-year-old
son. His wife, Jacqueline, an actress, recently showed up in the "People"
column of The New York Times.
Executive VP of Operations
and Technology and CIO
Nasdaq Stock Market
When Gregor Bailar arrived at Nasdaq in late 1997, the average trading volume on the electronic exchange was about 700 million shares a day. Now, an average of about 2 billion shares trade each day, with peak activity spiking at above 3 billion.
Nasdaq’s recent volatility and soaring trading volume have been Mr. Bailar’s
greatest challenges as the market’s executive vice president of operations
and technology. He makes sure the technology is in place to accommodate the exchange’s
To that end, Mr. Bailar proved wrong the skeptics who predicted Nasdaq couldn’t
handle escalating trading activity and a transition to decimals simultaneously.
Though Nasdaq did get a nine-month extension from regulators, the conversion rolled
out virtually glitch-free in March and April. Nasdaq's huge extranet system can now handle up to 6 billion shares a day if necessary.
Mr. Bailar came to Nasdaq via Citicorp, where he was a managing director in the
global banking area. He has also had high-level positions at Perot Systems and
Hewlett-Packard. At Nasdaq, he oversees 1,200 employees and a budget of $450 million.
His priorities now are a rollout of Nasdaq’s next-generation trading platform,
the SuperMontage, and development of stock exchanges in Japan and Europe, with
the goal of creating a 24-hour global exchange.
For a man who’s tamed Nasdaq’s wild jumps, that shouldn’t be too
much of a stretch.
Zoë Baird first made headlines in 1993 when she turned down President
Bill Clinton’s offer to be attorney general after it came out that she
had employed an illegal alien as a nanny for her child.
However, in public policy and technology circles, Ms. Baird is famous for much
more than that.
As president of the Markle Foundation-a private philanthropy that supports
both for-profit and nonprofit organizations helping to bridge the digital divide-Ms.
Baird is aggressively working to ensure that the Internet is serving public
needs from Kosovo to Washington, D.C.
Before joining Markle in 1998, Ms. Baird was general counsel at Aetna Inc.,
a senior visiting scholar at Yale Law School, a partner in law firm O’Melveny
& Myers, and associate counsel to President Jimmy Carter, to name but a
few of her accomplishments.
At Markle, a 64-year-old foundation with a $200 million endowment, Ms. Baird
has taken action fast. She plans to give away $100 million over the next four
years, far more than usual for a foundation that size.
Under Ms. Baird, Markle is working to foster public participation in policy-making,
develop interactive media for children, improve health care and support increased
access to technology.
Baker Capital Corp.
As many of his contemporaries were throwing gobs of money at anything with a
.com suffix, John Baker, founding partner of Baker Capital Corp., a New York
venture capital firm, didn’t buy into the trend.
His unwillingness to be taken in by the hype of many dot-com business plans
was rewarded when a number of his venture capital brethren saw their fortunes
come tumbling down with the precipitous decline of the Nasdaq over the past
Instead, Mr. Baker and his partners decided to take the long view. They focused
their efforts on companies like Akamai Technologies as well as other Web infrastructure
outfits, investing hundreds of millions of dollars.
Baker Capital has $1.5 billion under management, one of the largest private
"We’ve focused on what we know well. Over the past year, this means
we’ve continued to concentrate on real markets with meaningful revenue
and solid gross margins that are scalable and well-managed," says Mr. Baker.
Marc H. Bell
Chairman and CEO
Marc Bell is proof that doing what you love is the secret to success. A self-confessed
"computer geek" who wrote his own game program to play Space Invaders
on a school computer when he was only 13 years old, Mr. Bell has always enjoyed
working with technology.
In 1989, at the age of 21, he founded Globix, a leading provider of Internet
hosting, networking and applications solutions. The company now boasts more
than 3,500 customers, including many Fortune 500 clients, and $80 million in
Globix was one of the first high-tech companies that helped start the Silicon
Alley boom, and it continues to provide Web infrastructure and technical services
to many local businesses.
For more than a decade, Mr. Bell also has been contributing to the community
that gave him his success. Every year, through its Community Connection program,
Globix donates over $1 million in technology grants to New York-based nonprofit
organizations to help them utilize the Internet.
Bruce E. Bernstein
New York Software Industry Association
In 1997, Bruce Bernstein left a career in computer consulting to become president
When it was founded in 1992, NYSIA was a 50-member grassroots organization.
Mr. Bernstein now presides over a 500-member association widely regarded as
the voice of New York’s software developers, from companies as large as
IBM to tiny start-ups.
Mr. Bernstein doesn’t like to take the credit. "We make a collective
effort," he says. But the results under his leadership have been significant.
The establishment of an advocate’s office, or ombudsman, where Silicon
Alley companies can resolve problems with telecom provider Verizon is one recent
NYSIA has expanded its networking and learning events. The organization has
also provided member benefits, like insurance and access to reasonably priced
wired real estate.
But Mr. Bernstein puts lobbying first on the agenda. If the state approves the
proposal, NYSIA will lead a $34 million effort to develop a New York City Center
of Excellence in Computer Science. "Our mission is to strengthen technology
in New York," he says.
Senior Internet Analyst
Merrill Lynch & Co.
Wall Street has a new co-star on celebrity investment panels: Henry Blodget. It’s
an unlikely role, especially now, for the Merrill Lynch analyst, who got his first
job on Wall Street seven years ago.
Having been taken to the woodshed, albeit belatedly, by the media after many of
the stocks he followed and recommended fell dramatically, Mr. Blodget nevertheless
has managed to survive.
His staying power comes from the fact that he tempered his bullish stance on dot-com
stocks last year, while those companies’ shares were still rising. In early
March 2000, Mr. Blodget predicted that most Internet companies would not survive.
That forecast has paid off in spades. In April 2000, dot-com stocks began to nosedive,
and this year he was named the top Internet analyst by Institutional Investor.
For Mr. Blodget, it was a remarkably quick rise to fame. In 1998, when he was
an analyst with CIBC World Markets Corp., he predicted shares of on-line bookseller
Amazon.com would climb to $400 from their trading price of $240. They quickly
took off, reaching $600 at their peak, and Mr. Blodget’s fame and career
followed. In 1999, he was recruited by Merrill Lynch.
Nevertheless, Mr. Blodget still gets blamed for the dot-com bubble and implosion
that followed. In March, he was named in arbitration by a Merrill Lynch client
who said Mr. Blodget’s advice cost the investor $500,000.
With Internet investment waning, it remains to be seen whether Mr. Blodget, who
now covers Microsoft Corp., will also fade.
Vice Chairman of
Bear Stearns & Co.
Denis Bovin says the best investment banking advice he ever got he picked up from
working with defense companies: The way to win a war is to pick your battles.
That’s precisely what he’s done as co-head of technology investment
banking at Bear Stearns.
After two decades at Salomon Brothers, where in the late 1980s Mr. Bovin advised
AT&T on its breakup, the dealmaker joined Bear Stearns in 1992.
He launched Bear Stearns’ technology group with 12 professionals, focused
on information services, software and defense-an area that Mr. Bovin says is driven
by technology. By choosing specific areas, the firm has been able to compete against
larger rivals and win deals. Bear Stearns’ technology team, which has grown
to 100 bankers, has underwritten some of the most famous, as well as some of the
most infamous, companies of the dot-com boom.
"I don’t think there is a tech banker on The Street who doesn’t
have failures," says Mr. Bovin.
As a technology and defense specialist, he serves as a civilian adviser to the
Department of Defense and has received a medal for his contributions. Not surprisingly,
Bear Stearns is the leading underwriter of defense companies.
David J. Brand
Lehman Brothers Inc.
Since his days as a nuclear project engineer at General Dynamics, David Brand
has always been involved in technology. But it wasn’t until he joined Lehman
Brothers in 1987 that he started working on the business side of technology and
became a strategic adviser for high-tech mergers and acquisitions and corporate
Over the past 14 years, he has been one of the leading advisers in the industry
as head of Lehman’s global technology mergers and acquisitions department,
managing more than 200 transactions with a combined worth of over $100 billion.
His clients include IBM, AT&T, Honeywell, Loral and L3 Communications, to
name just a few.
"Working with technology companies has been enormously interesting and challenging,
given the rapid pace of change in the industry and the impact these companies
are having on the world," he says.
Mr. Brand sees the current economic slowdown as merely a challenge that will become
an opportunity for his clients. "We are clearly in a period of significant
valuation readjustment, which could last through the end of the year," he
says. "However, we expect leading tech companies to execute significant acquisitions
during this uncertain period to enhance their market positions."
Silicon Alley Venture Partners
It’s a difficult time to be a technology venture capitalist, but you wouldn’t
know it from talking to Steve Brotman.
In fact, Silicon Alley Venture Partners, the VC firm he co-founded three years
ago, has been weathering the dot-com shakeout remarkably well. Its portfolio of
companies includes several successful New York-based start-ups, with no wipeouts
so far. Mr. Brotman also has pulled off the "hat trick" of funding three,
so far, winning companies in a row with LivePerson Inc., Flooz.com Inc. and bla-bla.com
Prior to launching SAVP, he founded AdOne Classified Network in 1994, which provided
Internet infrastructure to the newspaper industry, and sold it
to a media company syndicate that included Hearst, Scripps and Advance/ Newhouse.
AdOne now has a combined on-line circulation of more than 24 million.
Starting a new business seems to be in Mr. Brotman’s blood. "Some people
say that everyone should spend at least one year living in New York City,"
he says. "I think everyone should also spend some time at a start-up company."
Chair, Interactive Telecommunications
NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts
Red Burns brings art to science. A lifelong experimenter in media and its power
to communicate, she has been instrumental in the union of creativity and computers
that’s called new media, and a major force in New York’s
Ms. Burns, who won’t reveal her age, speaks and writes in soaring prose
about the newest medium, the Internet: "Blips race down networks at incomprehensible
speeds. The siren song has us in its grip," she says cryptically. But her
goal is straightforward: to teach others to use communications technology in
free-spirited, imaginative ways.
She’s sent 115 students from NYU’s two-year program-launched in 1979-to
companies and institutions like Viacom, Microsoft and the American Museum of
The Tisch program had its roots in the Alternate Media Center, where in the
1970s and 1980s Ms. Burns worked on two-way television and teletext. Today’s
program’s goal is even broader.
"It is about enhancing the human spirit, using the power of technology
to respond to the human need for communication and expression, she writes.
CEO of the MTVi Group
When MTVi inked a deal earlier this year to provide a legal, for-pay music download
service and got the green light from five major record labels, it made sense that
Nicholas Butterworth was in the middle of the post-Napster agreement. The Brown
University graduate has always been pushing for the convergence between music
and the Internet.
As chief executive of SonicNet Inc., Mr. Butterworth presided over innovations
in streaming audio and live Webcasting. His vision caught the eye of Viacom’s
MTV Networks, which acquired SonicNet and created the MTVi group in 1999, appointing
Mr. Butterworth CEO. Early last year, he became one of MTVi’s directors.
"Opportunities are the same now as they were five years ago. They’re
just exponentially greater," says Mr. Butterworth.
In the wake of the Napster controversy the recent coup by MTVi in the music download
arena should also help MTV Networks leverage its MTV360 initiative, which is intended
to better integrate the two cable channels MTV and MTV2 with MTV.com.
Head of East Coast Technology Banking Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Understanding the Alley IPO game
by Stephen Gandel
Looking around Lawrence Calcano’s office is enough to stir an investor’s
His cherry bookshelf holds an array of trophies commemorating Internet stock
offerings-deals that made his firm, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., hundreds of millions
of dollars and cost investors nearly the same amount over the past year.
That makes Mr. Calcano an easy target to blame in the aftermath of the tech
fallout. But by his own account, he is no more at fault than anyone else. All
investment banks were jockeying to underwrite Internet companies. And once those
companies went public, investors were all too willing to buy their shares at
"We tried to work with companies that we believed had a competitive advantage,"
says Mr. Calcano, who heads Goldman Sachs’ East Cost technology group and
its team of 55 investment bankers. "Every single one of our deals was highly
sought-after by investors and other underwriters."
Mr. Calcano and his team of bankers turned out to be the most successful, though,
at landing those deals. In all, Goldman Sachs underwrote 106 initial public
offerings from 1998 through 2000, raising a total of $16 billion. "We won
the lion’s share of deals on the East Coast," he admits.
His willingness to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit was learned early on.
While he was growing up in North Point, Long Island, his father was one of the
first executives at a small software company called Video Graphics, which wrote
programs for mainframe computers.
In his career, Mr. Calcano has chosen to focus on young companies. After working
with such large companies as Microsoft at Goldman Sachs, he became in 1993 the
firm’s first and only dedicated technology investment banker based in New
York. At the time, most local technology companies were embryonic at best. But
Mr. Calcano, now 38, saw the potential for scores of start-ups that would one
day be embraced by public investors.
The Dartmouth business school grad’s success is due in part to his keen
understanding of how to play the IPO game: To land start-ups as clients, you
have to follow the money.
Entrepreneurs were often too busy building their businesses. So, initially,
Mr. Calcano established connections with venture capitalists. He figured that
the VCs would better understand the importance of having ties to an underwriter,
even before an IPO was imminent.
Star still shines
As a result, the most prominent technology start-ups on the East Coast, and
especially in Silicon Alley, came to Goldman Sachs by way of Mr. Calcano. In
the late 1990s, Goldman handled such IPOs as DoubleClick Inc. ($238 million);
Inktomi Corp. ($162 million); StarMedia Network Inc. ($105 million); and iVillage
Inc. ($88 million).
Surprisingly, though, the recent performance of those stocks doesn’t seem
to have tarnished Mr. Calcano’s reputation or his relationship with clients.
Jim McCann, chief executive of 1-800 Flowers.com, considers Mr. Calcano one
of his firm’s most trusted advisers, even though shares of his company
have never traded above the $21 initial offering price in August 1999. In fact,
says Mr. McCann, his close ties to Mr. Calcano continue to be one of his company’s
most prized assets.
"One of the favors that I get asked most frequently is to provide an introduction
to Lawrence Calcano," says Mr. McCann.
Jerome A. Chazen
Founder and Chairman
Jerome Chazen has always stayed close to his business roots when it comes to his
venture capital fund.
As chairman emeritus of apparel maker Liz Claiborne and one of its four founders,
he continues to focus on investing in New York City’s fashion companies.
While the scope of his fund’s focus is wide, he has particular enthusiasm
for tech companies serving Seventh Avenue and the people who buy its products.
His first dot-com investment, fashionmall.com,
an on-line retailer, has fared poorly, he says. Nevertheless, he’s still excited about a new e-fashion
investment in 7thOnline.com,
which provides virtual showrooms, as well as tools, to help buyers
allocate their budgets and visualize merchandising their floors with a vendor’s
Despite the current downturn in his venture fund’s portfolio, Mr. Chazen
is taking a far longer-term view than most of Silicon Alley. "I’ve always
been skeptical, where others have been believers," he says. "The Internet
hasn’t been a magic carpet ride."
Leave it to Jay Chiat. After he reached the pinnacle of Madison Avenue, he became
a player in Silicon Alley.
The legendary ad man was the driving force behind Chiat/Day, known as much for
its innovative processes, such as account planning and creating a virtual work
environment, as for its memorable ad campaigns.
And it’s this pioneering spirit that drew Mr. Chiat to the Internet. He became
an investor in 1993 in The Interactive Connection, which eventually morphed into
ScreamingMedia, a Web-based content facilitator that traffics syndication-minded
content providers to content-starved Web sites. Mr. Chiat became chairman and
chief executive in 1998 before handing over the day-to-day reins to new CEO Kevin
Clark in 1999, though he remains active as chairman.
As for his legacy, Mr. Chiat has a simple request: He hopes people will remember
him as a man who "wasn’t too boring."
Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison
Though Silicon Alley has yet to thaw from the chill of last spring’s stock
market plunge, Doug Cifu seems surprisingly upbeat.
Mr. Cifu, in fact, actually seems to be enjoying the change of pace. These days,
he is busy working on funding distressed businesses and restructuring financing
"You get a lot more interesting work when the markets are rougher than when
the Nasdaq is at 5000," says Mr. Cifu, who heads the Internet, media and
technology practice at law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.
Maybe that’s because Mr. Cifu has always seen himself as more of a consultant
than just a lawyer dictating the language needed to complete a deal.
"I’m not shy about telling my clients what I think of their deals,"
says Mr. Cifu. "They look to me for more than just legal advice."
His frankness has helped land some of New York’s largest technology investors.
As a summer associate, Mr. Cifu was noticed by executives at Metromedia Fiber
Network Inc., the $3.5 billion telecommunications firm. He has worked on deals
for the company and its owner, John Kluge, ever since.
In 1993, while serving as director of corporate planning at Reader’s Digest,
Mr. Citrin became aware of certain habits in his management style, which inclined
him to working with clients, building teams and recruiting people into his organization.
Around the same time, a partner from Spencer Stuart, the world’s largest
privately held search firm, suggested that he consider becoming an executive
"It hit the mark just right," he says. "And it’s been a
perfect marriage ever since."
After joining Spencer Stuart in 1994, Mr. Citrin became the firm’s technology
matchmaker, specializing in finding the perfect fit for many Internet executives.
He currently serves as managing director of Spencer Stuart’s global Internet
As one of the most influential recruiters for New York’s digital economy,
his major high-tech placements include top executives of Primedia, barnesandnoble.com,
RSL Communications and Motley Fool.
An avid runner who has completed seven marathons and the World Triathlon Championship,
Mr. Citrin also has written numerous articles describing his experiences in
the recruiting industry and has co-authored a best-selling book, Lessons from
the Top: The 50 Most Successful Business Leaders in America.
President and CEO
Information Builders Inc.
Among the early founders of New York’s high-tech community, Gerald Cohen
is regarded as a forerunner of Silicon Alley.
Mr. Cohen is the co-founder of Information Builders Inc., one of the first successful
New York-based software companies, which develops Web-based technology for businesses.
Since launching his company nearly 26 years ago, Mr. Cohen has transformed a
three-man outfit into 32 offices with more than 2,000 employees worldwide. "But
one thing hasn’t changed," he says. "People continue to have
a constant need for information. The only thing that has changed is how it’s
One reason for the company’s success is that Mr. Cohen understands his
customers and how their technology needs constantly evolve.
True to its name, Information Builders is currently the leader in business intelligence
on the Web, helping companies and government organizations build valuable intelligence
systems from their massive databases and deliver them through the Internet.
It now has more than 9,000 global customer sites, including 92 clients from
Fortune 100 companies, and over $300 million in annual sales.
Jerry Colonna & Fred Wilson
Ages 37 (Colonna), 39 (Wilson)
Founded in the spring of 1996, Flatiron Partners was one of the first venture
capital firms in Silicon Alley.
Jerry Colonna, a former editor at InformationWeek, and Fred Wilson, a longtime
venture capital investor with Euclid Partners, had each independently conceived
the notion that investing in early-stage Internet companies could be a great
business. They also were willing to jump into those investments at a stage when
even angels feared to tread.
"We each saw a bunch of opportunities that no one was chasing," says
Flatiron pioneered the intense role VCs came to play in their Internet start-ups.
"A good early-stage venture capitalist is a combination spiritual adviser,
source of capital, business adviser and parent to companies in their most dysfunctional
phase," says Mr. Colonna.
It was a formula that’s worked over the years. Of 55 investments, 15 have
been sold and 10 went public. "In 1999 alone, we sold five businesses,"
says Mr. Colonna. "The internal ROI was extraordinary."
Naturally, Flatiron, having witnessed the birth of high-tech, new media New
York, is now embroiled in its difficult adolescence. Four of its investments
have gone belly-up in the last year. "Hey, we’re not losing as much
money as Cisco," jokes Mr. Wilson.
Adds Mr. Colonna: "Nobody expects us to have sustained performance. This
is a lifetime achievement award."
But nothing has beaten the thrill of working with new companies trying to break
new ground, and helping eager executives compress what should be a years-long
process into a suitable Internet-speed interval, creating a culture, destiny
and, the partners hope, some profits to go with it.
But Flatiron’s 22 employees are not so much mulling the dot-com crash
as analyzing new ventures. "We’ve taken our losses already,"
says Mr. Wilson.
General Manager, New York region
Master of software sales brings her talent to NY
by Michelle Leder
She may not be from New York, but Kim Daly has already mastered the art of
the New York minute.
Of course, as general manager of Microsoft’s New York region, overseeing
more than 100 sales employees who are responsible for more than $500 million
in software sales, Ms. Daly has to be fast on her feet. After all, she’s
not in Denver or Dallas, two pit stops along the way in her 10-year career with
the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant.
After nearly a year running the New York sales operation, Ms. Daly, 33, says
she fits in better here than in some of the other places she’s called home.
"I was always considered a bit uptight to be working on the West Coast,"
she says, though the Japanese rock garden in her office belies a New Age influence.
One of her top priorities is to make people more aware of Microsoft’s growing
New York presence. "A lot of people don’t even know that we’re
here,’’ she says of the 350 employees in New York City.
From her corner office on the 21st floor of Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue
and West 49th Street, Ms. Daly surveys her new turf. As general manager, Ms.
Daly is responsible for nearly 5,000 Microsoft customers, many of them Fortune
500 companies in the New York area.
No time for sales calls now
But as much as she’d like to go out there and sell Microsoft software
to them and everyone else within her view, she no longer has much time to go
on sales calls. Still, she considers herself a master at selling and tries to
share that knowledge with her employees.
Bob Vellone, vice president of Microsoft East and Ms. Daly’s boss, says
she is a natural in her new job. "She’s very good at mixing it up
with different people, and she brings a good balance of career and life experience
to her job," he says.
Ms. Daly got her start in technology as a receptionist at a small computer
components company while working her way through college at the University of
Phoenix. Though her job was to answer the phones, she quickly realized that
she was good at selling, even if she didn’t understand what she was talking
When the phones were slow, she started reading up on technology. She later joined
Microsoft as a "demo girl" in Dallas, where her family had moved when
she was in high school.
"I was more than Vanna (White), but not much more," Ms. Daly now
Her responsibilities entailed demonstrating new Microsoft software to businesses
in the Dallas area. Gradually, she began taking on larger projects at the software
giant and in 1992 helped to open Microsoft’s new Houston office. It was
there that she became an itinerant executive. For two years, she commuted daily
between Dallas and Houston, flying up in the morning and back in the evening.
"You know it’s bad when the flight attendants get to know your name,"
she says. New York is Ms. Daly’s third move in as many years.
Outside of a brief stint in the mid-Nineties at Sybase Inc., another large
software company, Ms. Daly has spent her entire professional career at Microsoft.
"They’ll take risks and give people a chance to try different jobs,"
As a rising star at Microsoft, she has had about a dozen opportunities over
the past year to meet the big boss, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Jr. Along
with other key Microsoft executives, Mr. Gates visits New York frequently for
analysts meetings, product announcements and charitable events. It’s a
lot more exposure than Ms. Daly ever got in Houston, Denver or even Redmond,
where she worked just before coming to New York.
When asked what Bill Gates is like, she replies, "He’s very smart
and direct. You can almost tell he has 10 things going on at once."
That’s kind of the way she feels here in New York.
Co-founder and Chairman
This year is shaping up to be a pivotal one in the tumultuous career of Razorfish
co-founder and Chairman Jeffrey Dachis.
After a strong initial public offering in 1999, the Web consulting and services
company was perched atop the glittery world of Silicon Alley. When the stock
market took a dive a year ago and the economy started to sputter, Razorfish’s
share price also went south, as many old economy companies started to rethink
their Web plans.
As a result, 2001 has been a particularly bad one for Mr. Dachis and Razorfish.
The company reported a first-quarter loss of $24.9 million on revenues of $42.7
million, down from $50.1 million for the previous quarter.
Since October, Mr. Dachis has been forced to cut more than 1,000 employees.
He and his co-founder, Craig Kanarick, stepped down as chief executive and chief
strategic officer, respectively, earlier this month after releasing the company’s
financial results, though both remain as co-chairmen. But Razorfish’s new
Chief Executive Jean-Phillippe Maheu, previously the COO, will have to contend
with additional cutbacks.
Mr. Dachis, who since the launch of Razorfish in 1995 has proven himself to
be a P.T. Barnum of the new economy, is now scrambling to reignite the momentum
that has been stalled during the past year. Though Razorfish still has plenty
of cash, this year’s challenges should prove to be a litmus test of Mr.
Dachis’ leadership. The company must find a way to survive amid an industrywide
Co-Chair of New Media Practice Group
Morrison & Foerster
Since leaving San Francisco in 1994 for Morrison & Foerster’s Manhattan
office, John Delaney has been instrumental in developing the firm’s New
York technology law practice, which is regarded by many in the Silicon Alley
community as the city’s best.
The Bay Area’s loss has clearly been Silicon Alley’s gain. Mr. Delaney
has been working to provide New York-based Internet companies with the same
high-quality legal expertise that is available to Silicon Valley companies.
Born and raised in Alaska, Mr. Delaney believes that he takes after his grandfather,
an Irish immigrant who eventually became mayor of Anchorage. "Maybe in
choosing to become an Internet attorney," he muses, "I was at least
subconsciously influenced by my grandfather’s pioneering spirit."
When asked about the ongoing Internet shakeout, he points out that this is the
first down cycle for many of New York’s high-tech entrepreneurs.
"It is a necessary learning experience," Mr. Delaney says. "The
downturn will ultimately prove to be an essential step in the maturing of Silicon
Alley and will result in a more talented pool of entrepreneurs in New York."
Mario Dell’ Aera
Among New York’s growing cadre of Internet companies in 1995, young KPMG
partner Mario Dell’ Aera saw an opportunity to carve out a niche. Six years
later, he oversees one of the top accounting practices catering to Silicon Alley
as head of KPMG’s national new media/Internet group. Clients of the affable
Levittown, L.I., native range from CBS New Media to IntraLinks to Comet Systems.
In that span, he has witnessed firsthand the dizzying rise and fall of the dot-com
phenomenon. "We’ve learned a lot about what went wrong and why,"
says Mr. Dell’ Aera, who began his career 18 years ago by developing audit
technology for KPMG. Now, he’s intent on helping the next generation of
Internet businesses benefit from the mistakes of the first.
"Today, we can have the biggest impact being involved with companies right
at the outset," says Mr. Dell’ Aera. In the meantime, he’s busy
dealing with the financial woes of former Alley highfliers like theglobe.com
and 24/7 Media Inc. "I’ve aged a lot in the last few years,"
quips Mr. Dell’ Aera.
Jupiter Media Metrix
Gene DeRose describes last year’s merger between Jupiter Communications,
the leading Internet analysis provider, and Media Metrix, the Silicon Alley
audience measurement company, as finding a soul mate.
"We complete each other, to quote Tom Cruise," says Mr. DeRose. "The
data validates the analysis, and conversely, we extend and enhance the data
by providing analysis around it."
Although Mr. DeRose became second fiddle in the orchestra when Media Metrix
acquired Jupiter for $414 million in stock-taking a backseat to Chairman Tod
Johnson on the organization chart-his role and reputation as one of the new
economy’s prophets have not changed.
This year is shaping up to be pivotal in the young life of the newly merged
company. Messrs. DeRose and Johnson are in the thick of an extensive search
for a new chief executive as they gird for battle with new competition from
DoubleClick Inc., which recently started a research division called Diameter.
CEO and Co-Founder
Jason Devitt’s eureka moment came one night while he was standing on a
street corner with a business partner, looking for the nearest place to buy
a cup of coffee. Mr. Devitt says he realized that despite the fact that he was
packing more raw computing power than Apollo 11, he had no idea how to get to
the nearest Starbucks, let alone the moon.
His experience led him to launch Vindigo, a cyber city guide that works with
palm devices to help users navigate the Internet and find the nearest places
to eat, shop and play.
After releasing its first version in 1999, the company has attracted several
content partners, including Zagat.com, nytoday.com and The Washington Post.
The service is now available in 20 U.S. cities and has added new features like
customer reviews and discount programs from participating stores. Mr. Devitt
hopes Vindigo will continue to expand and one day become a wireless map of the
world that allows customers "to see every street and every store in the
world" in the palm of their hand.
At executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds, David Diamond is the top headhunter
scouting high-level managers for consumer-oriented technology companies. He
has worked on more than 30 senior-level searches since he joined the Manhattan-based
firm in 1999.
"I’m influencing the technology leaders of tomorrow," says Mr.
Diamond of his job.
His efforts also have included nepotism. In 1997, he recruited two executives
for his brother Matt Diamond, chief executive of teen marketer Alloy Online
Throughout his career as a recruiter, which includes a two-year stint as managing
director of the e-commerce practice at Levy-Kerson, now part of Korn/Ferry International,
he has developed a nose for finding executives who succeed in tough environments.
Before switching to executive recruiting, Mr. Diamond held several retail jobs
following graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
To unwind, Mr. Diamond, has taken up a hobby: He likes to ride his motorcycle
from Manhattan to upstate New York. "It’s a thrilling, dangerous experience,
like the fast-paced world of technology companies," he says.
Vice President and General Manager, Road Runner
Time Warner Cable
of New York City
If you want to get high-speed Internet access throughout much of New York City,
then Joe DiGeso is your man. Since January 1999, he has been responsible for
rolling out Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner, a high-speed cable-based Internet
service, in the Big Apple.
Since its launch in September 1999 to New York’s residential cable customers,
Road Runner has attracted more than 100,000 subscribers and is now available
in over 1.6 million homes throughout the city. But Mr. DiGeso, who first joined
Time Warner Cable in 1993 as finance manager, still has plenty of work cut out
He will lead the continuing expansion of Road Runner’s commercial broadband
service and keep a close eye on its main rivals, Excite@Home and Earthlink.
A longtime resident of New York-he received both his undergraduate and M.B.A.
degrees from NYU-Mr.DiGeso also was recently recognized by an industry publication
as one of Silicon Alley’s top executives. He is also involved in various
cable industry associations.
Allan H. Dobrin
Commissioner NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
As a veteran city official with nearly 20 years of experience in the Koch, Dinkins
and Giuliani administrations, Allan Dobrin is an expert at navigating the complex
bureaucracy of New York City. But he says it’s still a challenge for him
to bring brick-and-mortar agencies into the digital economy.
As the commissioner of DoITT, he is responsible for managing voice, video and
data technologies in government operations that range from approving new fiber-optic
lines to regulating cable television franchises. Mr. Dobrin is also the man
behind the city’s plan to take numerous government services to cyberspace.
As part of this goal, DoITT signed a deal earlier this year that is expected
to bring hundreds more public Internet kiosks to New York City during the next
"We feel that this will be a significant improvement in access to government
by the people," says Mr. Dobrin.
He is determined to make city agencies as efficient and technology-savvy as
any e-commerce firm in Silicon Alley. Thanks to him, New Yorkers may soon be
able to pay their parking tickets or even renew their driver’s licenses
with just a click of a mouse.
and Technology Officer
Robert Druskin’s appointment as head of global operations and technology
at Citigroup came last August, just four months after Sandy Weill took over
as sole chairman and chief executive of the financial conglomerate.
Mr. Druskin, a longtime Smith Barney manager, rose to his new position when
Citigroup’s former head of information technology left the company. His
latest title makes him a member of the elite management committee that runs
Citigroup. He’s responsible for operations and technology, purchasing,
shared services and real estate across the country.
Mr. Druskin’s role at Citigroup stems from his tenure at Smith Barney,
which he joined 10 years ago as chief administrative officer and senior executive
vice president. He became vice chairman in 1993. Mr. Druskin put in a stint
as head of asset management and the futures division before returning to the
post of chief administrative officer in 1997 to oversee the merger with Salomon.
The investment bank was eventually taken over by Mr. Weill’s Travelers
Group, which merged with Citigroup in 1998.
Executive Director, New York
Karin Duncker joined the New York Biotechnology Association as executive assistant
and the organization’s second employee in 1994. The 4-year-old trade group
was gradually raising its profile from a casual association of biotech leaders
to a voice for the nascent local industry.
Ms. Duncker was quickly bumped up the ladder at NYBA as positions were created,
until she landed in the director’s seat two years ago.
Her greatest challenge isn’t jump-starting biotech, but keeping it here.
Each year, the 30 or so companies spun out of New York City’s one biotech
incubator tend to find greener pastures. That means the trade association must
work on developing sources of seed money, educating venture capitalists and
lobbying the state for better financial treatment, like the 1998 high-tech tax
credits that NYBA helped push through.
Up there on the agenda is educating the public about biotech. "In the past,
the industry has been arrogant," Ms. Duncker says of the way the sector
has dealt with community concerns. "Now, we’ve got to convince people
Vice President for the Northeast Region
Compaq Computer Corp.
He’s been Compaq’s vice president for the Northeast region for less
than four months, but Kevin Dunwoody brings to his new post 28 years of management
experience from technology heavyweights like Apple Computer and Xerox. Given
the flagging PC market, he’ll need every bit of it.
The Northeast region, which includes New England and New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
and Delaware, is key for Houston-based Compaq. Last year, the area generated
$3.5 billion in sales for the computer maker. In order to keep that number growing,
Mr. Dunwoody is closely involved with the company’s top 20 customers here.
"I’m a working executive," he says. "I’m engaged with
our biggest clients to make sure they’re satisfied."
Mr. Dunwoody is responsible for Compaq’s sales, support and services in
his territory. Already, he’s developed a reputation for working long hours,
and he greets the office cleaning staff most nights.
Not everything is hard work. The St. John’s University graduate, who grew
up in Queens, relishes the fact that Compaq has a box at Yankee Stadium. "I’m
a big Yankees fan," he says.
EDventure Holdings Inc.
If anyone’s been in charge of the Internet, it’s Esther Dyson-venture
capitalist and publisher of influential newsletter Release 1.0.
As founding chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers,
she presided for the past two years over an international agency responsible
for the Internet’s core infrastructure.
As chairman of EDventure Holdings in Manhattan, she invests in nascent technologies
and markets and acts as the moderator of a global conversation about technology
and the future.
And there’s no better place than New York to do that, says Ms. Dyson. "You
can go to a restaurant and hear people talking about fashion, Russian election
reform and operating systems," she says.
Known for her wit and honesty in an overhyped industry, Ms. Dyson remarks: "I
consider myself the industry’s court jester. I watch the throne, but I
do not sit on it. I see a lot, use discretion and tell the truth."
AT&T Data & Internet Services
When Kathleen Earley says "voice is the next killer application," you
can be certain she’ll play a role in getting it out into the world. She’s
an expert at delivering new technology to the masses.
As the president of AT&T’s $8 billion Data & Internet Services unit
for nearly two and half years, Ms. Earley built the company’s vaunted Internet
Protocol Services unit-which is now the market leader-from scratch in two years.
The unit offers a broad range of connectivity, including cable and DSL lines,
and virtual private networks, which allow businesses to connect remote offices
securely through the Internet.
She also has led AT&T’s expansion of its huge Web hosting business and
high-speed data services. Both are central parts of the conversion to what Ms.
Earley terms an "Internet-centric" company.
As for voice, AT&T already has 38 locations internally where it utilizes voice-over-Internet-protocol
technology, in which voice is sent as data but is still fully intelligible as
Since Ms. Earley says it’s coming, you can bet you'll be hearing it soon.
StarMedia Network Inc.
Fernando Espuelas can’t remember a time when he wasn’t an entrepreneur.
When he was just 6 years old, he would sell the presents he received for Christmas
and his birthday to make money. When he was a little older, he would rent his
soccer balls to neighborhood kids in his native Uruguay. That may explain why
he’s one of the few Silicon Alley chief executives still around today.
Mr. Espuelas is holding on to his $16 million Spanish- and Portuguese-language
portal, though industry investors would like to see him put his
5-year-old venture up for sale. "StarMedia demonstrates that Latin entrepreneurs
can succeed big-time," he says.
At work, Mr. Espuelas is known for being thorough and direct. During quarterly
company meetings, called "all hands" meetings, he answers each and
every question about StarMedia’s financial situation-he hopes to reach
profitability by year-end-sometimes in a brutal manner. He gives his managers
extensive input and feedback, but he also holds them responsible for their actions.
Mr. Espuelas says he’s driven by a sense of unifying the poor and the rich
in Latin America through the Internet.
"Millions of people there are not realizing their full potential,"
he says. "They’re just focused on feeding themselves.
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
When the Nasdaq tumbled last year and the initial public offering market dried
up, the actual mechanics of Rubi Finkelstein’s job may have been altered,
but the overarching principles of her securities law practice remained unshaken.
"The fundamentals of a good practice remain the same regardless of what
the current fad is," says Ms. Finkelstein, a partner at Orrick Herrington
& Sutcliffe, one of the technology sector’s pre-eminent law firms.
In the past, she has advised such Internet players as iVillage Inc. and BigStar
"As the tech sector has crumbled, our focus on solid companies with good
business models has held us in good stead," Ms. Finkelstein says.
So, until the IPO market rebounds, Ms. Finkelstein will continue to advise her
clients to pursue alternative financing strategies, such as private placement
of securities or even selling their companies. And whenever there is a good
fit, she’s not shy about introducing clients to each other.
Long before anyone had ever heard of Silicon Alley, Robert Fish was pioneering
a venture capital and technology practice as a young partner at Coopers &
Lybrand, prior to the accounting firm’s merger with Price Waterhouse.
His head start in cultivating ties to the local technology community in the
1980s paid off in the following decade, as scores of fast-growing Internet start-ups
Now an elder statesman of the Alley, Mr. Fish oversees a group that boasts as
clients more than 100 local technology and biotech firms in New York-including
DoubleClick, iVillage and Juno Online Services-not to mention an equal number
of venture funds, from General Atlantic Partners to Euclid Partners.
The son of a Manhattan specialty carpet dealer, Mr. Fish learned early on about
the challenges of running a small business in New York. When he was asked to
launch Coopers’ New York high-tech practice in 1980, he jumped at the chance
to work with emerging companies. Now, he’s using his experience to help
clients that have been hit hard by the tech downturn to survive.
Founder and CEO
When technology executives are looking for new opportunities, it’s Michael
Flannery’s job to help them land on their feet.
He is the founder and chief executive of Redwood Partners, one of the first
firms in the country to offer executive search and consulting services to Internet
technology companies. Since its launch in 1994, his firm has developed an impressive
track record of a 96% success rate on its search assignments, among the best
in the business.
An influential voice on Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s technology committees, Mr.
Flannery also serves as a strategic partner to NYC Economic Development Corp.
initiatives and the Mayor’s Task Force on New Media.
When asked about the current tech decline, he echoes the sentiment shared by
many other recruiters: "Last year represented one of the most turbulent
times in the history of the technology marketplace. Being able to support all
of our clients throughout has proven to be a substantial challenge."
Mr. Flannery predicts, however, that the shakeout will eventually strengthen
the Silicon Alley community. "Over the next several years, it will have
created a platform of businesses that will enable the New York technology industry
to flourish," he says.
Audubon Biomedical Science & Technology Park
Whether New York becomes a major biotechnology center will be determined in
part by the efforts of Mitch Gipson.
As the executive director of the city’s only university-related research
park and biotech business incubator since 1995, Mr. Gipson has been working
to make that possibility a reality.
Located at Columbia University’s campus in upper Manhattan, Audubon supplies
a state-of-the-art research facility and business infrastructure to biotech
But for Mr. Gipson and others in New York’s fledgling biotech industry,
there are still a number of hurdles to overcome. Those include a shortage of
affordable lab space and a lack of interest by many New York biomedical academics
in turning their world-class expertise into commercial opportunities.
There are 35 biotech companies based in the city, with fewer than 2,000 combined
employees. But those figures could soon improve, as more lab facilities become
available to entrepreneurs. Columbia plans to build a second incubator building
next to its center, and other institutions, including NYU, are also leading
an effort to build more biomedical laboratories.
All this is a welcome development for Mr. Gipson, whose Audubon center may one
day rival leading biotech centers in northern California and Boston.
Founder and President
Can’t wait for the cell phone chatter to stop? Eric Goldberg has the answer:
He wants people to start playing games on their cells instead.
Unplugged Games was founded on the success of Mr. Goldberg’s previous company-Crossover
Technologies Inc.-which supported multi-user games on the wired Internet. In
December, Mr. Goldberg and his team decided that wireless multiplayer games
were the way to go. His company has distribution agreements with Verizon, Sprint
and AT&T, three of the largest wireless carriers.
"Portability is prized," says Mr. Goldberg. "There are more Game
Boys out there than Nintendo 64s and Sony PlayStations combined."
Even better, wireless carriers are desperate to figure out how to charge users
for Internet services, something that telephone companies’ antiquated billing
systems can’t handle.
More important than the games themselves is the Unplugged Games billing technology
that helps telecommunications companies collect. "People have always been
willing to pay for games," says Mr. Goldberg.
Of course, if you insist on talking on your cell after winning a mobile game,
you can always call and gloat.
Digital Media Curator
American Museum of the Moving Image
When Carl Goodman started working as a digital media curator at the American
Museum of the Moving Image nine years ago, most people hadn’t even heard
of the Internet, let alone a digital curator.
Mr. Goodman was hired in part because he knew how to operate a $100,000 computer
that recorded audio digitally, something the museum was trying to use as part
of an installation. But his position quickly grew into developing exhibits about
technology’s effect on movies and television.
Now, Mr. Goodman-who sits on the boards of innovative arts organizations such
as Creative Time and Harvestworks-is also responsible for developing interactive
exhibits, a growing trend in museums.
One of his current projects is the creation of a handheld wireless device that
visitors can use to access information as they browse through the museum’s
"This application goes beyond the usual examples of applications that would
drive the adoption of wireless and mobile devices," Mr. Goodman says. "It
creates a cultural application of these technologies."
With his extensive background in bankrolling the new economy, it was a logical
next step for Raj Gupta to migrate toward entrepreneurship in the world of wireless
During his stint at CIBC Oppenheimer Corp., he was involved in putting together
deals totaling $2 billion, many of them in the wireless arena. In 1999, Mr.
Gupta hung out his shingle under the aegis of YadaYada, an integrated mobile
Web portal and Internet service provider for personal digital assistants. He
currently has offices in New York City, San Diego and Birmingham, Ala.
His belief in mobile applications was affirmed last September, when he secured
$15 million in financing, which allowed him to launch a content service with
the support of such major telecoms as AT&T, Verizon and Novotel Wireless.
Like a barnstorming evangelist, Mr. Gupta shares his enthusiasm for the wireless
world by making time in his busy schedule for frequent speaking engagements.
Jack D. Hidary
Chairman and Co-Founder
Jack Hidary’s experience with the Internet began when he was a
student at Columbia University in the late Eighties. He helped
develop ColumbiaNet, one of the first college Internet
"I come from a family of entrepreneurs,
and I’ve always been excited about building teams to
accomplish a great goal," Mr. Hidary told Crain’s New York
Business for a 1999 profile.
In 1994, along with his brother Murray,
Mr. Hidary founded Manhattan-based EarthWeb, which soon will
be renamed Dice Inc. During Jack’s tenure as chief executive,
the on-line provider of information technology career
resources raised about $20 million from Warburg Pincus
December, EarthWeb sold 14 Web sites and 18 e-mail newsletters
to internet.com Corp., an on-line publishing business. At that
time, EarthWeb laid off employees.
Mr. Hidary resigned from his CEO post
earlier this year, but was named chairman. He’s now focusing
on philanthropic activities, including promoting
"I’m traveling to a wide range of
countries to understand the state of technology and social and
political conditions," he says.
James K. Johnson
President and Chief Operating Officer
Alloy Online Inc.
At teen catalog marketer Alloy Online
Inc., James K. Johnson is the company founder you rarely hear
about-the other co-founders are oft-quoted Chief Executive
Matt Diamond and Chief Financial Officer Sam Gradess. That his
name is not often mentioned has little to do with his
influence at Alloy Online. Mr. Johnson oversees the company’s
information technology system, which targets potential
customers and enhances business operations. He has the last
say on IT issues.
Known for his very hands-on style, Mr.
Johnson has traded in his business suits for jeans and
T-shirts. That’s the ideal attire for someone who works seven
days a week in a firm known for its cramped office space.
founders have a small cubicle," says Mr. Johnson, who helped
start the company in 1996.
A former corporate auditor at General
Electric Co., Mr. Johnson says his motivation for being an
entrepreneur came from GE’s CEO, Jack Welch, whom he describes
as a dynamic business leader.
"I wanted to do something with
technology, marketing and the underserved teen space," Mr.
Johnson says. So far, he’s succeeded. Last March, Alloy
reported a fourth-quarter operating profit of 4 cents a share,
on revenue of $42.5 million.
Richard Johnson has chutzpah. Two years
ago, he bet $2 million-nearly half the revenues of his
startup, HotJobs-on a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl.
The move paid off in increased traffic to the site over the
next three months. Unlike a lot of other Super Bowl dot-com
advertisers, HotJobs has not only survived, but also
The 6-year-old recruiting site now has
over 9,100 corporate customers, including half the Fortune
500. The number of job seekers registered with the site passed
3 million this year, and revenues in 2000 nearly tripled, to
That isn’t to say
HotJobs isn’t feeling the pain of the technology slide. This
year, it has laid off 15% of its staff of about 600 and its
stock has been trading below $5 a share. The company has yet
to turn a profit.
In March, Mr. Johnson stepped down as
chief executive to jump-start the company’s
business-to-business exchange for staffing agencies and hiring
Having made HotJobs known to the world,
"I’m going to spend more time just focusing on innovation,"
says Mr. Johnson.
Chairman and CEO
Isaak Karaev’s story is a classic tale of
an immigrant making good in America-with a new economy twist.
Armed with a computer science background and very little else,
Mr. Karaev came to New York from Russia in 1980 during a brief
period when Soviet Jews were permitted to leave the country.
Now chief executive of Multex.com, a
leading on-line hub for financial research and one of Silicon
Alley’s few profitable ventures, he’s made the most of the
"It wasn’t an overnight success,"
explains Mr. Karaev, who in 1986 launched Multex Software
Inc., which provides real-time quotes and other financial data
to individual investors.
The company was snapped up by payroll
giant ADP in 1989 and subsequently began selling its financial
software to Wall Street investment banks. Multex was spun off
again four years later to capitalize on the Internet’s
emergence as an efficient way to distribute financial
information. "It was free and better than having to maintain
our own infrastructure," he says.
Today, Multex.com claims many of Wall
Street’s top firms-from Merrill Lynch to Salomon Smith
Barney-as customers, which rely on the company to distribute
their research on-line and help run their technology systems.
difference is that we’re a business that operates on the
Internet, not because of the Internet," says Mr. Karaev.
President and Chief Executive
Ann Kirschner, together with Columbia University, has lifted
on-line learning from the practical to the sublime. How else
to describe the experience of clicking through course
offerings aggregated from 13 institutions as prestigious as
Columbia, the London School of Economics and the University of
Although 1,000 short seminars are free,
the rest of the academic paradise-600 courses so far-costs
money. Fathom is a business venture, not a blessing. Short and
long courses range from $25 to $1,000 and are designed for
lifelong learners who want to get their chance to study
Japanese culture or catch up on data-flow systems.
who was seduced by television from an academic career at
Princeton, sees the Internet as the ultimate medium and New
York as the ultimate place to create the message. "New York is
the capital of intellectual capital," she says.
Late last year,
Bob Kitts re-emerged from the wreckage of his career. His
starry tenure at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter had come to an
abrupt and controversial end in 1999, when Mr. Kitts resigned
after allegations that he’d had an affair with a woman he
supervised, who complained of sexual harassment.
who launched Thomas Weisel Partners, a San Francisco
investment bank, in 1998 during the salad days of the
Internet, quietly lured him back into the game to run the
firm’s financial sponsors unit, which centers on the venture
Based in New York, Mr. Kitts is enjoying
his new role. Although Thomas Weisel Partners is a relative
upstart, Mr. Kitts often finds himself competing against firms
like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in the technology
unique proposition is that a lot of our senior bankers have
bulge-bracket (top firm) experience, but we also have a
boutique sense," says Mr. Kitts.
Although the IPO market is drying up, Mr.
Kitts is confident that Weisel’s robust sales and trading
operations will compensate.
When Jason Kliot
started a digital movie studio two years ago, it was more than
a business move-it was a creative necessity.
Open City Films-the production company he started with his
wife, Joana Vicente-for three years, the duo was tired of
relinquishing creative control to major movie studios in order
to get their films funded. So they launched Blow Up.
technology, Blow Up is able to produce films at a fraction of
the cost, because the process does not require costly film
stock and films can be shot with smaller crews. The digital
studio now has a production fund with enough money to make
four films a year.
Blow Up’s first two digital films, both
of which were hits, have marked Mr. Kliot’s company as one of
the leaders in digital filmmaking, a trend that is expected to
become mainstream in the next few years.
But for Mr.
Kliot, who worked as an assistant director, produced public
service announcements and co-founded the hunger-fighting group
City Harvest before starting Open City and Blow Up, digital
filmmaking is a way for him to make the movies he wants.
"We always ask,
‘Do they push the boundaries?" he says.
Chief Internet Officer
and Time Warner coupling may have dominated last year’s
headlines, but don’t underestimate the other merger between a
bricks-and-mortar company and an on-line outfit—the one that
brought Primedia and About.com together. The two companies,
each in its own way, focus on vertical, niche markets.
wonderful commonality of approach," says Primedia’s Scott
Kurnit, the mastermind behind About.com, which was previously
known as The Mining Company. "When you bring two cultures
together, you worry about clashes. But both of these companies
are based on technology."
About.com was founded on the simple idea
that one site could direct users to hundreds of micro-sites,
each of which can offer in-depth information on topics ranging
from bungee jumping to gourmet cooking. Mr. Kurnit is one of
new media’s trailblazers, having held key positions at both
Prodigy and News Corp. when it briefly explored digital before
he started The Mining Company in 1996.
Network Service Group
job is to run the largest wireline telecommunications network
in the United States, a giant hunk of it operating in New York
City. He’s also on the front lines of Verizon to meet the
burgeoning demand for bandwidth created by the high-tech
explosion in Silicon Alley, on Wall Street, and in offices and
homes throughout the city.
Though Verizon has less than 60% of the
high-bandwidth market in New York right now, Mr. Lacouture
says, that share has grown 40% per year over the last three
years. "We’ve caught up, and we continue to meet demand," he
has meant accelerating its annual investment to keep the
entire network up to speed. In 1996, Nynex, a Verizon
predecessor, invested $1.3 billion in its telecommunications
network in New York state. Last year, Verizon invested $2.4
"Sometimes, we’re taken for granted, but
a lot of people access the Internet through our network," says
In 1998, Robert Lessin decided to scratch
his entrepreneurial itch by leaving the world of investment
banking behind. After stints at Morgan Stanley and Salomon
Smith Barney, he joined Wit SoundView Group, a leading Silicon
Alley venture capital firm.
In June 1999, Mr. Lessin took Wit
SoundView public, and at its height the company traded at
$22.25-though its share price has fallen considerably along
with the rest of the tech market. In February, Mr. Lessin gave
up his CEO duties at Wit, but he remains active as chairman;
he’s looking for robust businesses, especially in the European
market. He has said that he is likely to become more involved
with the firm’s venture investing arm.
Every now and
then, he says, he has twinges of regret. "Of course, I would
have been worth more money if I had stayed on Wall Street, but
the value of being at the cutting edge of the new economy is
Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Lately, Alexander Lynch has been
changing jobs at a very fast clip.
In the past year and a half, he has added two law firms (Gunderson Dettmer and
Brobeck Phleger & Harrison) and one start-up (TradeOut Inc.) to his résumé.
His latest move was in February, when he joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich &
Rosati as the head of the Silicon Valley-based firm’s New York office.
At each step in Mr. Lynch’s career,
his employers have touted their new recruiting coup. That’s
because the Columbia University Law School graduate is one of
Silicon Alley’s pre-eminent dealmakers.
Over the past few years, Mr. Lynch has
helped New York companies raise $3 billion in funding, and
advised on over $2 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions.
His largest score was the assignment to do legal work for
DoubleClick Inc.’s initial public offering at Brobeck Phleger,
which he landed by spending a weekend writing up the company’s
offering documents even before it had agreed to become a
"Running a New York office for
an 800-lawyer firm is a unique opportunity for someone who is
39," says Mr. Lynch. "I’m looking forward to staying in one
place for a while."
Technology Program Director
Industrial Technology Assistance Corp.
Franklin Madison comes from a service
background: He’s tended mainframes at a major retailer and
taught Harlem churches to apply for federal housing grants.
And he’s a self-described geek.
That makes him the perfect lifeline for
literally thousands of New York technology companies, from
software to biotech. He’s handled 100 consulting projects in
his two years with ITAC-a nonprofit economic development
corporation that is the New York Office of Science, Technology
and Academic Research’s local arm-for which the clients paid a
fee. He’s also swamped with phone calls from companies who
want, and readily receive, a little free advice.
in the tech-teens," says Mr. Madison. Those are the companies
debuting in the world of angel funding and venture capital.
doesn’t just supply contact information. He also evaluates
companies’ business plans and talks them up to funding
full 75% of the companies he’s helped are still in business.
"That’s our mandate," says Mr. Madison. "To help businesses
make a profit in New York City and state."
Chairman and CEO
McCormick, a 27-year advertising and media veteran, has been a
part of the wave of old media executives sent to rescue the
iVillage, I have to turn a brand into a business," he says.
"It was a great vision. Now we have to get it to work."
iVillage, whose stock has fallen precipitously, Mr. McCormick
has been a turnaround artist before, putting the Lifetime
Network on its feet. He’s eager to point out that he’s been
hired for his hardheaded business approach.
under founder Candice Carpenter, rose quickly from his
appointment as president in April last year. Since then, he
assumed her duties as chairman and chief executive under a
cloud of increasing losses. While iVillage, the on-line
women’s network, is encountering rough waters, Mr. McCormick
insists its fundamentals-solid editorial and 250 million page
views a month-and its vision are sound.
"My role is to
provide the leadership and fiscal discipline to move us to
profitability," he says.
IT Strategy and VC
IBM’s Global Net Generation Business-NY
joined IBM’s Global Net Generation Business, which nurtures
tech start-ups with advice and one-stop shopping for hardware
and software, last September, but he’s already had an impact
on dozens of companies.
In his role as tech consultant, Mr. Mehta
helps new companies figure out their infrastructure
strategy-what IT architecture will support their business
Essentially, he works under the hood, as
critical an operator in the tech business as a mechanic is in
the auto industry.
"My job is to help companies assess their
needs and recommend technology," he says. "It’s not that sexy
Sexy or not, Mr. Mehta can help make the
difference between a smooth-running system and a clunker.
Those companies fortunate enough to have hooked up with Net
Generation and Mr. Mehta get an extra boost. He works with a
select group of venture capitalists to mentor their most
innovative portfolio companies and pave the way for IBM to do
business with them.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO AGENCY.COM LTD.
A free agent no more, consultant endures
by Mark Walsh
Chan Suh recalls the early days at
Agency.com, when he and co-founder Kyle Shannon would
celebrate company milestones with a trip to Tad’s Steakhouse
for the $5.99 dinner special. The restaurant was around the
corner from the Time & Life Building, where they had
bartered Web development work for Time Inc. in exchange for a
Mr. Suh has been reflecting on those
shoestring start-up days as his company fights to hang on
through the brutal shakeout in the Internet consulting sector.
"That’s part of our DNA-our survival instinct and our
frugality," says the Agency.com chief executive, who now
oversees an e-services company of 1,050 worldwide.
To that end,
Agency.com’s founders last week announced they will sell their
shares in the firm to Seneca Investments, a holding company
formed recently by Agency.com investor Omnicom Group Inc. and
venture fund Pegasus Partners II. The founders will receive an
initial payment of 94 cents a share, followed by a potential
second payment of 47 cents a share, depending on the company’s
financial results through 2006.
Both will remain with the company, though
Seneca will own a controlling stake.
Through this deal, Mr. Suh aims to help
his firm avoid the fate of competitors like marchFirst, which
filed for bankruptcy in April. He has also seen rival
Razorfish’s founders, Jeff Dachis and Craig Kanarick, give up
operational control of their company amid sliding earnings and
So far, Agency.com
has fared better. The company last week cut its workforce by
25% after reducing staff in December. As of the end of March,
the company had $72 million in the bank, and it expects to
save $55 million in 2001 through restructuring.
The right strategy
Fortune 1000 clients from the start, instead of flimsier
dot-coms, has helped Agency.com to endure the downturn. "We
always targeted large existing companies that would benefit
the most from changing the way they do things via the
Internet," says Mr. Suh, 39, who worked as a media planner at
big publishers including Time Warner and Condé Nast in the
on, Agency.com landed large accounts, such as Hitachi, GTE and
American Express’ college division. The company proved adept
at snapping up other interactive agencies as it grew. While
firms such as marchFirst and Xceed have seen their roll-up
strategies unravel, Agency.com has melded its seven
acquisitions more successfully.
Taking a year to integrate the consulting
shops before going public in 1999 was a crucial factor in
keeping Agency.com from coming apart during the tech meltdown,
says Mr. Suh. But even he admits that the future is uncertain
for all e-consultants.
The holding company poised to acquire
Agency.com also controls Omnicom’s minority stakes in
Razorfish and Organic, fueling speculation that the three
shops could be consolidated. If that happens, analyst Dirk
Godsey of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. predicts, Mr. Suh will
wind up as chief executive of the combined entity.
"He never seemed
to be as caught up in the Internet hype as many others," says
President Rockefeller University
In search of the next science
When Arnold Levine changed his
graduate major from dentistry to microbiology, it wasn’t a
difficult decision. After only a semester of dental school at
the University of Pennsylvania, it was clear where his
passions lay-he got A’s in science courses and C’s in
There was just one hitch he hadn’t
counted on. Three weeks into his new studies, one of his
professors received a phone call from Mr. Levine’s mother back
in Brooklyn, demanding to know how her son could possibly make
a living with a degree in microbiology.
called," the professor later told a mortified Mr. Levine. "But
don’t worry. I took care of it."
It’s a good thing he did. In the 40 years
since that phone call, Mr. Levine, 61, has collected a string
of the world’s most prestigious awards in science and,
according to some, is on the short list for the Nobel Prize
for his discovery of a gene that plays a role in more than
half of all human cancers.
"He is a superb scientist," says his
colleague, Dr. Herbert Pardes, chief executive of New York
Presbyterian Health System.
scientists who make a major discovery, Mr. Levine wasn’t
exactly sure what he was dealing with when he initially found
the gene P53, but he knew it was important. Later it was
discovered that the gene helps prevent aberrant cells from
reproducing and turning malignant.
Now, as president of Rockefeller
University, he is continuing to take risks, gambling on where
the payoffs will be in an era in which the human genome will
dominate every corner of biomedical research. In the process,
he is pulling Rockefeller into more collaborative ventures
with other institutions.
"The tradition has been to live within
these gates," says Mr. Levine. "Now Rockefeller is moving into
The gregarious, slightly rumpled Mr.
Levine seems especially suited to the task. A Bay Ridge
native, he spent his teenage years ushering in his father’s
movie houses and first developed his passion for science at
SUNY’s Harpur College in Binghamton.
In previous posts at Princeton and at
Stony Brook, he developed a reputation for being an
entrepreneur and for attracting top researchers. At
Rockefeller, where there are no departments and the heads of
the university’s 75 research laboratories report directly to
him-an organizational nightmare for most executives-he
relishes the interaction with other scientists.
Mr. Levine is also forging new
relationships with institutions that Rockefeller once counted
as rivals. Its new center for the study of hepatitis C is a
joint venture on the part of Rockefeller, New
York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College.
A program with NYU’s Courant Institute helps train Rockefeller
students in computer science, and an unusual alliance with
Bard College in Annandale, N.Y., brings liberal arts students
to Rockefeller to learn about science and sends Rockefeller
post-docs to Bard to get teaching experience.
A $350 million renovation program is
preparing the university for genomics by adding labs and
overhauling its 40-bed hospital to put more emphasis on
Mr. Levine has received myriad awards for
helping to unlock the puzzle of cancer, including the Louisa
Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University-considered a
precursor to the Nobel Prize-and the General Motors Cancer
Research Foundation’s Charles F. Kettering Prize. This year,
he was the first recipient of the $500,000 Albany Medical
Center Prize, the largest annual prize in the United States
for science or medicine.
Founder and CEO
Fashionmall.com, a leading portal for
bricks-and-mortar and on-line retailers, was definitely one of
the more popular dot-coms in the acquisition game this past
Wooed by several interested
buyers, fashionmall.com played hard to get, dissatisfied with
the offers that came in below the cash value of the company.
That doesn’t mean that the company, led by founder and Chief
Executive Benjamin Narasin, will stay pat.
"We would explore strategic opportunities that would help us grow in
terms of broadening our client base and growing our ad
revenue," admits Mr. Narasin. "It’s clearly much more
challenging for a pure Internet company to succeed versus
companies that have strategic allies."
Prior to starting fashionmall.com in 1994, which he took public in
1999, Mr. Narasin was chief of his own clothing label-Boston
Preparatory Co.-combining his design skills with his business
acumen. During his stint as CEO of BPC, Mr. Narasin schooled
himself in technology by creating networking systems for the
Millstein Felder & Steiner
Jeffrey Neuburger is more than just any Internet lawyer. He wrote the
book; actually, two.
His first, Multimedia Law: Form &
Analysis, was published in 1994 by Law Journal Seminars-Press,
at a time when few lawyers cared about cyberspace.
"A number of
colleagues told me I was wasting my time," says Mr. Neuburger.
"They thought the Internet was just another flash-in-the-pan
technology-like CB radios."
Those same lawyers said Mr. Neuburger was
silly to leave Weil Gotshal & Manges, after six years, for
the much smaller Brown Raysman to
build an Internet practice.
Neuburger had a background in technology after working six
years in the computer department of GE Capital, and from his
college days as a computer science major at the State
University of New York at Albany.
Even after the dot-com stock market
crash, Mr. Neuburger, who counsels such media clients as the
cable division of AOL Time Warner, music company Zomba, and
magazine publisher Playboy, says he is still busy.
Playboy in a lawsuit against Excite Inc., because the search
engine is posting banners for X-rated sites whenever users
request the adult magazine’s dot-com address. Playboy claims
that is target advertising using the magazine’s name, and
infringes on its trademark.
"My clients turn to me for the deals that
need to get done," says Mr. Neuburger.
best-laid plans are simply put on hold, as in the case of the
New York Times Digital unit.
Initially spurred by the prospect of
creating a Web site with the currency to attract on-line
viewers and advertising much like the newspaper, the Times’
unit, led by
Chief Executive Martin
Nisenholtz, was gearing up for its IPO last fall. But with
deteriorating market conditions and poor ad sales, it was
forced to pull back. Recently, it’s also had to scale back
other digital projects, including information-sharing service
Abuzz, and lay off almost 150 employees.
the Times Digital unit is arguably the most formidable Web
site among the city’s local newspapers-both in visitors and
"I don’t think content-plays alone on the
Web can be successful. That’s why we’re in terrific position,"
says Mr. Nisenholtz, whose varied career path has included
stints at Ogilvy & Mather and Ameritech.
is confident that when the markets turn around, his unit will
be well-positioned. "We’re The New York Times and we have
different ways to get information to the public: print,
on-line, and even TV as a programming vehicle. So I don’t see
us as just a Web company."
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
It makes sense that Denis O’Leary ended
up in the growing technology financial services sector. He
began writing computer programs in high school, long before he
became a banker at Manufacturers Hanover.
After heading up
Chase.com, the unit dedicated to new economy investments, Mr.
O’Leary will continue on that path, but with the help of a new
a result of the recent merger between Chase and J.P. Morgan,
he will be working with Nick Rohatyn, son of banker Felix
O’Leary is convinced that broadband will be important in
developing the next stage of the new economy, but critical
mass isn’t expected for several years yet. Nevertheless, he
sees plenty of other opportunities to be leveraged
"As opposed to building companies from
scratch, we’re taking existing franchises and building
Net-centric systems for them," says Mr. O’Leary.
"Brick-and-click companies look very promising."
New York New Media Association
O’Rourke joined NYNMA in 1998, people were still questioning
whether the Internet would last.
Now, she’s hard at work countering the
public perception that Silicon Alley is fading away, all while
expanding career and education programs for temporarily
"The Internet continues to be a powerful
force for successful entrepreneurial activity here in New
York, while it has recreated our global powerhouse industries
to continued dominance," she says.
Now, the association is reaching out to
some shell-shocked tech troops with the "Control-Alt-Reboot"
program, which includes a six-month reduced-priced membership.
"If you lose your community at work, you can join the NYNMA
community," says Ms. O’Rourke, who would not disclose her
her leadership, in boom times and bust, the 7-year old NYNMA
has quadrupled its membership to 8,500, making it the world’s
largest regional Internet association. "NYNMA has helped new
media and technology companies get started and grow," says Ms.
Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center
When Carol Parkinson started working at
Harvestworks in the mid-Eighties, digital art and music were
considered fringe art forms, reserved for the downtown
that time, Harvestworks’ annual operating budget was only
$40,000, and few patrons even understood what the group was
doing, says Ms. Parkinson, who is also an artist. Now, the
center has a budget of $500,000, and digital art has become
the latest trend among mainstream collectors.
houses studios for digital art and CD-ROM design, and has a
digital audio production studio where soundtracks and
voice-overs are done for films. Each year, about 500 students
take classes in digital media production and Web page design
at the center.
Morgan Stanley & Co.
If the military service is ideal training
for the business world-as so many recruiting commercials
suggest-then Charles Phillips is the poster boy, at least when
it comes to Wall Street.
A former Marine, the Morgan Stanley
analyst used to program software designed to facilitate the
loading and unloading of aircraft carriers. To his surprise,
when Mr. Phillips came to Wall Street, few analysts knew much
about enterprise software—large computer applications
developed for businesses, much like the ones he had worked on
in the Marines—or, for that matter, any of the companies in
the enterprise software sector. Right away, Mr. Phillips found
his niche and has dominated the area as Institutional
Investor’s top-ranked enterprise software analyst for the past
"Most people didn’t like to cover
technology companies," says Mr. Phillips. "And enterprise
software was seen as even more backwater."
Mr. Phillips has
used the money he has made on Wall Street to fund his more
artistic ambition-music. Former co-owner of a Lower East Side
jazz and R&B club called Diana’s, which closed six months
ago, he is hoping to reopen in a new space with his
Co-Chief Operating Officer
AOL Time Warner Inc.
AOL’s Robert Pittman, who is overseeing
the day-to-day activities involved in the largest old
media-new media merger in history, denies that there is any
effort to marginalize Time Warner execs, as some have
speculated. In fact, Mr. Pittman points out, he actually
reports to former Time Warner chairman
Gerald Levin, the new AOL Time Warner
company of origin is becoming a nonissue. Gerry Levin has been
intent on building a strong collaborative team that’s moving
ahead faster than any of us had hoped for," asserts Mr.
Pittman, who was previously president of AOL Inc. and is now
responsible for helping integrate the newly merged AOL TW
While most of the media and technology
sector languishes in the current economic environment, AOL TW
reported robust first-quarter results, $11 billion in
earnings. The first postmerger numbers released by the company
indicate healthy increases in revenue and cash flow versus the
same period in 2000 for the combined companies.
Mr. Pittman has
shepherded AOL’s growth to nearly 30 million subscribers
on-line, a testament to the company’s strength as much as its
Jules Polonetsky didn’t invent the role
of chief privacy officer, but he’s made himself a role model.
DoubleClick, an Internet advertising agency, pushed the
privacy issue into the spotlight in February 2000 by
announcing a plan to connect people’s names, addresses and
other personal data with information about where they go on
March 2000, DoubleClick, backtracking fast, appointed Mr.
Polonetsky, an attorney and former New York City consumer
affairs commissioner, to a highly independent post. He reports
to DoubleClick’s board and is responsible for protecting the
privacy of consumers.
"Privacy is about consumer protection,"
says Mr. Polonetsky. "Before a new site can be part f our
system, one of my staff has to click a box."
and policy development, Mr. Polonetsky has noticed that he’s
set off a trend. "Not a month goes by when another chief
privacy officer isn’t announced," he says.
Chief Information Officer
American International Group Inc.
"I am the man behind the curtain, the
Wizard of Oz," says Mark Popolano, chief information officer
of AIG, one of the world’s premier insurance companies. "I am
setting up the structure that connects everyone."
But it’s not all
smoke and mirrors. Mr. Popolano is responsible for overseeing
AIG’s Web-based technology system, which connects its 61,000
employees and hundreds of thousands of customers around the
world. As the company’s technology chief, he says that AIG’s
business’ interests always come first.
"We don’t build
technology for technology’s sake," says Mr. Popolano. "We
build technology to meet our business and customer’s business
Mr Popolano began his career at Chase
Manhattan Bank, where he held senior technology positions in
New York and Hong Kong. Six years ago, he joined AIG’s
international property and casualty operation as senior
systems officer. He rose to his current position a year
he do it? "I am a good sleeper," he says.
J.P. Morgan Partners’ Latin America
An avid traveler
who once climbed Mount Everest and crossed Tibet and China by
bicycle, Tim Purcell has found a new outlet for his
adventurous spirit. He explores new investment opportunities
for J.P. Morgan Partners, the private equity investment
division of J.P. Morgan Chase. The Latin American Group has
$15 billion under management.
Since 1996, Mr. Purcell has served as the
group’s leading investor in Latin American and Hispanic
markets and funded technology firms in Mexico, Brazil and
Argentina. Despite its rewards, investing in Latin America is
not for the faint of heart. "You have early-stage risk to be
added to business, country and currency risk," he explains.
"You have to work especially hard to make sure you are being
compensated appropriately for the risks you are taking."
Mr. Purcell also
has been an influential investor in New York’s technology
companies, including Spanish- and Portuguese-language portal
StarMedia Network and Lumina Americas, an e-consulting
business serving Hispanic and Latin American clients.
Resnick pioneered the concept of opt-in e-mail marketing and
built a profitable company, $58 million NetCreations, around
it. Now, she’s pioneering a new survival concept for lean
times in Silicon Alley.
softening revenue growth rate and unhappy Wall Street
investors, Ms. Resnick struck a deal for her company to be
acquired by Sogerim S.A., an affiliate of Italy’s largest
Internet service provider and telephone directory publisher,
SEAT Pagine Gialle. Instead of just watching dot-com customers
die, Ms. Resnick has put NetCreations in a position to grow
Ms. Resnick plans to
combine NetCreation’s abilities in gathering e-mail addresses
with SEAT’s strength in gathering postal addresses.
She’s also eager to scout the world for
new partners to help NetCreations develop international opt-in
e-mail lists. "Opt-in e-mail is still the killer app," says
Steve Riggio has built Barnes &
Noble’s Internet business much like he has built his own
rise at the family-controlled mega-bookstore chain has been
slow and steady, beginning 25 years ago, right after college.
He worked his way up to chief operating officer and is now
Four years ago, when barnesandnoble.com
was launched, it received little attention in comparison with
its high-flying counterpart, Amazon.com.
But Mr. Riggio
just kept improving the site and gaining market share. While
most of the on-line retail market delivers nothing but bad
news, barnesandnoble.com reported increased first quarter
sales of $109 million, up 23% from sales of $88.6 million in
the same period last year. Gross margin for the first quarter
was 23%, an improvement from 15.8% in the year-ago quarter.
How did he do
remained focused on being the best bookstore on-line," Mr.
Riggio says. "We haven’t diluted our brand by venturing into
other product categories."
James D. Robinson IV
Founder and General Partner
Robinson IV’s passion for technology has led to a lifelong
career in the field. His latest endeavor is Manhattan-based
RRE Ventures, a technology-focused venture capital firm that
he founded in 1994 with his father, a former American Express
chief executive, and grad school friend Stuart J. Ellman.
whose first fund returned 110% annually for four years,
generally invests between $5 million and $10 million in
high-tech businesses. More than 50 firms, including
ScreamingMedia Inc., have received funding.
launching RRE, Mr. Robinson was a vice president and a general
partner at Hambrecht & Quist Venture Capital, now known as
"I swing for the fences," says Mr.
Robinson, who is known for being a risk-taker in his deals.
But he also makes it a point to take into account the human
element. He figures, in the end, that business is about
Digital New York needs wired real estate,
and William Rudin was the first to provide it. He transformed
Rudin Management’s old philosophy of investing in buildings
with subway access into "not owning any real estate that
wasn’t connected on a broadband basis to the information
Since transforming 55 Broad St. into the
world’s first totally wired building, Rudin Management has
completed four other "smart" buildings: Wired at 110 Wall St.,
the New York Global Connectivity Center at 32 Sixth Ave., the
Reuters Building at 3 Times Square and the Long Island
Technology Center in Great River. Two more buildings are
coming on line in 2001.
But more than creating space for an
increasingly wire-hungry market, Mr. Rudin helped build New
York’s tech economy. He serves on city, state and federal new
media councils, and the advisory board of the New York New
The recent dismissal by a U.S. judge of privacy lawsuits against Internet
advertising company DoubleClick must have buoyed the spirits
of CEO Kevin Ryan. Mr. Ryan, who took over last year from
Chairman Kevin O’Connor, just had the unenviable task of
presiding over two rounds of layoffs.
be affected by the overall ad spending drop. But there is
always a flight to quality in this type of setting, which will
help us with market share," offers Mr. Ryan.
DoubleClick-the largest new media company in New York in
revenues and market cap besides AOL Time Warner-to be
aggressive on the acquisition front, armed with a war chest of
$850 million in cash.
Surprisingly, Mr. Ryan is not overly
concerned about his company’s battered stock price, either.
"I’ll be worried when on-line usage drops," he says.
Executive Vice President and Chief
Since he became CIO of American Express
in March 2000, Glen Salow has been overseeing technology
initiatives in more than 40 countries. Despite the weighty
responsibility, he won’t take credit for it-at least not all
by himself. The managers of the company’s various business
units have plenty to say.
"We get into a room and start throwing
things around," he says. "I don’t know which ideas are mine
and which ideas are others’."
Mr. Salow came on board four years ago as
senior vice president of American Express Technologies
Operations, responsible for AmEx’s global infrastructure.
Since then, he has worked his way up the proverbial corporate
of his biggest challenges is nurturing the partnerships that
AmEx has with a number of businesses that help provide
services to its customers.
"Frankly, some of the providers out there
are having a hard time," says Mr. Salow. "Helping them through
the hard times and making sure they don’t disrupt their
customer (sales) is clearly the biggest problem for me."
Edwin Schlossberg Inc.
Although Edwin Schlossberg has been at
the forefront of interactive design for the past 24 years, his
latest work is putting his name front and center beyond the
His most recent projects, both of which
opened in the past two months-interactive exhibits for the $65
million Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.,
and a new section at Ellis Island’s immigration museum-are
changing the way visitors experience museums.
Visitors to Ellis Island, for example,
now can look up family members in a database of ships’ records
from 1892 to 1924, and add to the files by scanning photos and
information into the museum’s electronic scrapbook.
to allow the visitor to enter into and become part of the
conversation is part of what most institutions will become,"
says Mr. Schlossberg, who is also well-known because of his
famous spouse, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.
Next up for Mr.
Schlossberg is the signage for Reuters’ new headquarters,
scheduled to open this fall in Times Square. The electronic
displays will feature photographs and breaking news from
correspondents around the world.
"We were always the leader in this," Mr.
Schlossberg says of his design firm. "But now there’s more
Chairman and CEO
Gay Financial Network Inc.
Walter Schubert is a man unafraid of
risk. After all, he’s the first openly gay member of the New
York Stock Exchange.
He launched the Gay Financial Network in
1998. Through GFN.com, a Web site providing business and
financial news and related services, Mr. Schubert set out to
bring together two communities: financial services and the gay
and lesbian population.
"Corporate America has always wanted to
tap into the gay market but was tentative about how to do so.
For the gay community, this would be a means of getting the
finest products and services delivered to them in a
gay-sensitive way, and possibly at discounts," explains Mr.
With gays and lesbians increasingly
coming out of the closet, Mr. Schubert sees significant growth
potential for his company. GFN is considering both starting a
print publication and developing content for radio. And Mr.
Schubert is waiting for someone with deep pockets to start a
24-hour gay cable TV network so he’ll have another platform
for GFN content.
Founder and CEO
Ken Seiff launched an on-line outlet store for designer fashions in 1998
and called it Bluefly, thinking his company should be nimble,
fast and hard to catch, like a real fly. The name was an
appropriate one for an e-tailer that has shown an amazing
resiliency and has refused to be caught in the dot-com
"Raising capital during the past year as
an Internet retail company has certainly been a significant
challenge," says Mr. Seiff, whose firm managed to get $15
million in funding in March. "But it is also one that we have
Bluefly.com offers discount prices on
more than 9,000 items from 300 designers, including Prada,
Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. It continues to attract cyber
bargain hunters and recently reported a record for quarterly
native New Yorker, Mr. Seiff is a seasoned entrepreneur. At
age 26, he founded golf sportswear company Pivot Rules, which
later launched Bluefly. He says his goal is to make Bluefly
"the first place consumers go for designer fashions every time
Morgan Stanley & Co.
In the late 1990s, Dhiren Shah helped
build Morgan Stanley into one of the largest underwriters of
technology companies. But it is this year that his group is
showing its true strength.
Although few investors are excited about
the market and no one is doing initial public offerings,
Morgan Stanley has managed to complete two IPOs for tech
companies in 2001, raising a total of $3.6 billion. That’s
more than any of its Wall Street rivals handled.
At least part of
the reason is Mr. Shah, who heads up Morgan Stanley’s
technology practice. Unlike the careers of most other
technology investment bankers, Mr. Shah’s predates the rise of
the Internet. In the late 1980s, he worked with such troubled
corporate giants as industrial manufacturers Union Carbide and
Burlington on recapitalizing their debt-heavy balance sheets.
He got his first large dose of the tech sector in the early
1990s, while advising IBM.
"That experience taught me how important
having cash on hand is for companies, especially when you are
going into an economic turn," says Mr. Shah.
These days, he
adds, his job has gotten easier in some ways. "A year ago,
every CEO thought his company should get a $10 billion
valuation," says Mr. Shah. "The market over the past year has
brought people back to reality."
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
"I was born to be an analyst," says Mr.
Sherlund, a Cornell graduate who was hooked on covering
software companies soon after he joined Goldman Sachs in
he has been Institutional
Investor’s top-ranked software analyst for over a decade,
Mr. Sherlund’s influence comes mostly from his coverage of
Microsoft Inc., which he has recommended for most of the past
decade and a half.
When he lowered his revenue projections
for the software giant in April 2000, he was credited with
sparking a sell-off in all technology stocks that resulted in
a one-day drop of 7%-286 points-on the Nasdaq.
make good analysts," says Mr. Sherlund. "You are never far
from controversy when you cover Microsoft and it brings you
into the limelight."
Growing up in Manhattan, where he rooted for the championship Knicks and
Mets in the early 1970s, Bill Squadron developed a love of
Thirty years later, his passion has
evolved into Sportvision Inc., a leading creator of special
effects for sports broadcasts.
Sportvision’s biggest hit to date has
been the virtual yellow line that appears on screen during NFL
broadcasts to indicate the first-down marker. Such innovations
helped the company to raise $25.5 million last year in
second-round financing from investors that included Motorola
Inc. and ACTV Inc.
Mr. Squadron, a former News Corp.
executive, started Sportvision three years ago with a pair of
former Fox Sports colleagues, including Chief Technology
Officer Stanley Honey, who developed the glowing hockey puck
for Fox’s NHL broadcasts. Since then, the NBA, Major League
Baseball, the NCAA Final Four and Nascar have all incorporated
Sportvision technology into their broadcasts.
Co-founder and CEO
AlleyCat Information Sciences
Describing herself as "a journalist at
heart, who has a knack for ending up on the business side of
projects," Janet Stites has made her mark in both
was her experience as a science and technology writer for Omni
magazine, she says, that made her realize there was a need for
a publication tracking the high-tech sector for the investment
1996, she co-founded AlleyCat Information Sciences with Anna
Copeland Wheatley, and grew a cash-strapped trade magazine,
AlleyCat News, into a $4 million-a-year business and one of
the most recognizable brands in the Silicon Alley
Ms. Stites also launched a series of
highly-influential networking conferences for entrepreneurs
and venture capitalists to serve the Silicon Alley community.
Among them: the Alley to the Valley conference-a first of its
kind, which brought together East Coast start-ups with West
Coast investors in the dawning days of New York’s Internet
economy, and helped put Silicon Alley on the map.
Computers for Youth
The idea for Computers for Youth came to Elizabeth Stock while she was
working as a White House fellow in 1997.
At the time, she
was involved in a project placing thousands of donated
computers from federal agencies directly into needy schools.
"But in order to truly bridge the digital divide, I believed,
low-income kids needed to have computers in their homes, with
Internet access and the training," she says.
led Ms. Stock to launch Computers for Youth, a New York-based
nonprofit program that provides computers and training to
low-income families. Since its inception in 1999, CFY has
distributed more than 400 computers and trained nearly 1,000
people from inner-city communities.
The next step
for Ms. Stock is to expand the program and to start a national
rollout. "The digital divide is still very real," she says,
"and it requires continual effort to transcend."
Founder and Co-chair,
Internet and Technology Practice
Richard A. Eisner & Co.
At accounting and consulting firm Richard
A. Eisner & Co., Bruce Strzelczyk is the high-tech
introduction to Internet companies came in 1994, when he
convinced his firm to invest in a rising Silicon Alley
start-up called fashionmall.com Inc. Eisner’s involvement with
the e-tailer proved to be an excellent primer in learning the
ways of the new economy.
"My role is to bring our expertise into
the game," Mr. Strzelczyk says. "We have the knowledge of the
techniques and the rhythms of the industry."
Internet and technology practice has grown to 14 full-time
partners and 250 clients, including on-line accounting service
Virtual Growth Inc.
Co-founder and CEO
Community Connect Inc.
Having cut his teeth in Merrill Lynch’s
Technology Investment Banking Group, Ben Sun, the co-founder
and chief executive of Community Connect, is using his
dealmaking prowess to turn the Internet into a forum for
AsianAvenue.com, BlackPlanet.com and
MiGente.com, for the Hispanic market, are the fruits of his
sites feature free personal pages and news about
up-to-the-minute topics important to each ethnic audience.
Members also get to engage each other through discussion
groups, chat rooms and instant messaging.
"The power of
what we’re doing is allowing those voices and issues that
haven’t had a strong forum a chance to be heard," says Mr.
Sun. "Servicing ethnic markets is a real business."
Duquesne Capital Management
Ravi Suria probably won’t make
Amazon.com’s "recommended" list, but he is a rising star on
Last June, while he was a
convertible-debt analyst at Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., Mr.
Suria predicted Amazon would run out of cash in the next year.
At the time, most analysts were bullish on the on-line
bookseller, despite the fact that it has yet to generate
While Amazon still has yet to fold, its
shares have fallen 67%, from $42 to $14, since Mr. Suria's
report. But Mr. Suria's growing influence caught the attention
of Amazon's CEO, Jeffrey Bezos. In February, when Mr. Suria
was set to issue another report on the bookseller, Mr. Bezo
reportedly called Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld to block
the report's release.
All this has made Mr. Suria a hot
commodity. In March, he was recruited by Duquesne Capital
Management to be a managing director in the hedge fund
group-one of the largest in the world-which is run by George
Soros' former chief investment officer, Stanley
Nicholas M. Tanzi
President and Chief Operating Officer
joining Metromedia Fiber Network in 1997, Nicholas Tanzi has
played an integral part in the company’s efforts to break
through the bandwidth barrier. In New York, the company has
already installed an extensive fiber-optic network system,
giving customers the power to utilize rich media content and
e-business applications at lightning speed over the
"Through our fiber-optic service
offering, our customers gain fast and immediate access to
virtually unlimited bandwidth at a fixed cost," Mr. Tanzi
The strategy appears to be
working. Last year, Metromedia reported $188 million in
revenues, a 150% increase from the year before. It also boasts
an A-list of clients, including Winstar, PSINet and AOL Time
Currently operating in 10 U.S. cities
with roughly 30 additional networks under construction
worldwide, Mr. Tanzi’s company will continue to expand its
services, "providing relief from the more than 100-year-old
technology of bandwidth-starved copper communications
Credit Suisse First Boston
Had it not been for his love of skiing,
Kevin Tice might never have become a technology investment
banker. As a junior associate at Salomon Brothers in 1992, the
Denver native jumped at the opportunity to work on the
acquisition of a technology company based in his hometown,
because it was near the slopes.
At that time, few investment banks had
dedicated technology teams, and practically none had teams on
the East Coast. Working on the Storage Technology deal in
Denver and others like it from Salomon’s New York office, Mr.
Tice became one of the East Coast’s more experienced bankers
in the field.
Last year, when Credit Suisse First
Boston, already one of the leading players in underwriting
technology companies, was looking to beef up its presence
here, it recruited Mr. Tice to lead the firm’s East Coast
technology banker in your mid-30s, you used to feel like you
were behind the hipness curve," says Mr. Tice. "Now, clients
are looking for investment bankers who have done deals in
Jackson S.N. Tung
Chief Information Officer
New York City Board of Education
It’s a challenge few executives face in
the private sector, but keeping more than 1 million children
connected to cyberspace is just a part of Mr. Tung’s daily
Since becoming chief
information officer for the city’s public school system two
years ago, he has been responsible for the technology rollout,
including Internet access and workstation projects, to more
than 1,200 public schools in the five boroughs.
system still has "19th century rules and regulations that
hamper the efficiency of modern technological tools," he says.
But for Mr. Tung, his work means not just distributing new
computer equipment, but also providing a level playing field
for New York’s extraordinarily diverse student body.
be an equalizer for our students," he says. "Given the same
technology support, all students are equal in their
opportunity to learn, regardless of their social and economic
Neil de Grasse Tyson
Director of Hayden Planetarium
American Museum of Natural History
Neil de Grasse Tyson’s fascination with
the Museum of Natural History began at a very young age.
Growing up in New York City, he got his first clear view of a
night sky in the "star-filled dome of Hayden Planetarium," he
says. Now Mr. Tyson is in charge of the Planetarium
Hayden Planetarium, newly created as part of the Frederick P.
and Sandra P. Rose Center for Earth and Space, is one of the
few museums in the country devoted to space technology and
science. It is arguably the most advanced public facility for
the study of astronomy.
Since 1996, Mr. Tyson has been in charge
of the planetarium’s scientific research efforts and its
educational outreach programs. He is now a curator in the
museum’s department of astrophysics.
Mr. Tyson, who
received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University,
has published several books and is also a research scientist
at Princeton University.
childhood visits to the museum were instrumental in my
decision to become an astrophysicist," he says.
President and CEO
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Harold Varmus, Nobel-winning cancer
researcher, former faculty member of the University of
California at San Francisco and former director of the
National Institutes of Health under President Bill Clinton,
brings a lot more than stature to New York’s already
illustrious medical research community. He may be the first
person to finally get major New York institutions to work
together. The result, he hopes, will be to rev up New York’s
reputation as a biotech center.
Dr. Varmus acts as a catalyst. He already
has facilitated a close collaboration of Memorial
Sloan-Kettering, Rockefeller University and Cornell Medical
School, dedicated to basic research.
He’s also been
pushing a plan to develop an incubator and lab facility,
Queens West, that would help attract more biotech projects to
"Thus far, everything has remained in the
discussion phase. But there is plenty of enthusiasm among the
academic, industrial and venture capital communities," says
Technology Officers Practice
Kristin Wait has been making her mark in
technology recruiting for more than a decade, managing
executive searches for both Fortune 500 companies and start-up
1992, she became part of executive search company Korn/Ferry
International when it acquired her technology-focused
recruiting firm Dean Howard & Simon.
Since then, Ms. Wait has been steadily
climbing Korn/Ferry’s corporate ladder. She now manages the
firm’s Technology Officers Practice, which recruits
senior-level executives to meet e-commerce and other
technology demands of financial institutions.
cooling economy, Ms. Wait still has faith in the tech
revolution. "We plan to continue to grow the each of our
organizaiton and the number of our clients, who we serve both
here and abroad," she says.
Founder and CEO
ImClone Systems Inc.
Despite its concentration of world-class
medical centers and research institutions, New York City has a
paucity of biotech entrepreneurs. Count Samuel Waksal as a
star among the few.
Mr. Waksal founded ImClone Systems 16
years ago, after stints as a researcher at the National Cancer
Institute, Tufts University Cancer Research Center and Mount
Sinai School of Medicine. Today, the company is on the brink
of having the first approved drug in a new class of cancer
Unlike most biotech start-ups, which have
fled Gotham for friendlier and cheaper digs in New Jersey and
Westchester, ImClone has been committed to New York City.
"When people can come and hang their hats here and start their
companies, that will be a dramatic change," says Mr. Waksal.
Omar Wasow is nothing if not a
proselytizer for the Internet.
When he’s not at the helm of
BlackPlanet.com, the leading community Web site for
African-Americans, he’s busy helping Oprah Winfrey navigate
the Internet, providing consumer information about the Web for
local TV news, or dispensing insights as a contributor to
dot-coms are faced with the daunting challenge of quelling
advertisers’ fears and investors’ impatience. Mr. Wasow’s
prescription for his own site includes making content deals
with Time magazine and adding new revenue streams.
"The core thing
that drives traffic to our site is that we make it really easy
for people who share common interests and passions to find
each other," says Mr. Wasow.
Zagat Survey and Zagat.com
Even before Nina Zagat and her husband,
Tim, took their successful consumer survey-based restaurant
guide business on-line with the launch of Zagat.com, she was
an early advocate of the Internet, having done content deals
with both Prodigy and Compuserve.
Now, she is at the vanguard of wireless
technology, as Zagat.com
named "Best Restaurant Site" at the WAPPY Awards, which honor
excellence in the development of innovative Web sites designed
for mobile consumers.
Ms. Zagat and her husband have handed
over the day-to-day reins of their burgeoning empire to their
first chief executive, Amy McIntosh, whose hiring was fueled
by $30 million in venture capital seed money. But the Zagats
aren’t exactly putting themselves out to pasture; they remain
the visionary forces behind the brand.
Partner and Recruiting Manager
Silicon Alley Connections
A successful graphic designer, Tami Zori
had no intention of becoming a headhunter when she left Israel
for New York five years ago.
Once here, though, she found that she
enjoyed her job search so much that she decided to become a
recruiter herself. "It is the most exciting way to stay in
touch with the new media industry," she says.
In 1997, Ms.
Zori joined Silicon Alley Connections, the first recruiting
firm in New York to specialize exclusively in the city’s
growing Internet industry. Since then, she has led the
company’s creative department, helping hundreds of design
professionals land jobs in the new media business.
success, she hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she
arrived in America with nothing but a backpack. Ms. Zori’s
company has become the New York address for many Israeli
immigrants while they try to relocate.
Managing Partner J.P. Morgan Partners
Stakes are high for financier
by Mark Walsh
Comfortably seated in a sunbathed
corner office overlooking Manhattan’s West Side and the Hudson
River, Jeffrey Walker seems a man very much at ease.
Given the devastation rocking the
financial markets in the past year, one might expect the head
of the world’s largest private equity operation to be a bit
less sanguine. J.P. Morgan Partners (formerly Chase Capital
Partners) has hardly been immune to the downturn; in the
fourth quarter of 2000, it swallowed a loss of $92 million
related to write-downs in technology-related holdings.
in 2000 were off significantly from the preceding bonanza
year, J.P. Morgan Partners contributed nearly $1 billion to
the earnings of parent J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. More
important, the private equity unit has averaged annualized
returns of 40% since Mr. Walker launched it 17 years ago.
"We still had
balance in our portfolio last year," explains Mr. Walker, 45,
whose equanimity has been a guiding force behind the growth of
J.P. Morgan Chase’s venture arm. The unit has $24 billion in
assets under management.
Going with the
credits his adaptability to an upbringing during which his
family moved often as his father changed jobs. The elder Mr.
Walker’s pioneering work as a computer engineer at General
Electric also helped spur his son to get a management
information systems degree at University of Virginia before
earning a Harvard M.B.A.
Early on, an
entrepreneurial bent turned the Tennessee native away from a
career as an accountant. After joining the investment banking
division of what was then Chemical Bank, he spearheaded the
launch of the private equity division in 1984.
A good first impression
impressed Chief Executive Walter Shipley and the board of
directors enough to earn a $100 million commitment for the
bank’s first fund. Two years later, Mr. Walker scored his
first success by turning a $2 million investment in a group of
TV stations acquired by former CBS CEO John Backe into a $6
Since then, the private
equity unit hasn’t lost money in a single year. Diversity has
been key to this success. Despite all the hype surrounding
Internet deals in recent years, middle-market buyouts have
historically accounted for nearly half of the firm’s
Mr. Walker also prides
himself on having developed a corporate culture that
encourages the sharing of information and ideas among
partners, even as the firm has grown to 160 investment
specialists in 30 countries. That effort has included
inaugurating weekly meetings with partners around the globe
via videoconferencing, as well as creating a mentoring system
to help train junior staffers.
Now, as J.P. Morgan Partners undertakes a
new $13 billion private equity fund, Mr. Walker is confident
that his operation will be able to turn the recent tech slide
to its advantage. "We know this is a good time for us to
invest, because a lot of other people are frightened and
valuations are down significantly," he says.
Chairman Making Opportunities for
Upgrading Schools and Education
Providing the connections to make
by Alexia Vargas
In her all-white home office, tucked
away on the second floor of a Chelsea townhouse, 39-year-old
Joanne Wilson is doing what has made her 4-year-old nonprofit
a success: calling donors, answering e-mails and organizing
fund-raising events, all while keeping an eye on her three
Although she wears many hats, she’s
best-known for being the chairman of Making Opportunities for
Upgrading Schools and Education, or M.O.U.S.E., a
Manhattan-based organization that hooks up public schools with
powerful high-tech resources. In that role, Ms. Wilson sees
her primary mission as providing disadvantaged children with
access to technology.
Since taking over the reins of the board
in 1999, Ms. Wilson has used her networking skills to win
M.O.U.S.E. more than 100 corporate partners, including Bowne
& Co. and Andersen, formerly Arthur Andersen. She’s also
been able to garner over $1 million in the past two years to
finance the organization’s technology-oriented programs.
"I’m a stump
speaker for M.O.U.S.E., 24 hours a day, seven days a week,"
1997, her organization currently works with dozens of New York
City public schools to implement its five programs. Although
M.O.U.S.E. declines to provide exact numbers, the nonprofit
says there are thousands of kids benefiting from its
Students, including those
from Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Corporate Academy, receive paid
training to keep computer systems at their high schools up and
running. Through a partnership with Silicon Alley recruiting
firm Redwood Partners, M.O.U.S.E. also offers high school
juniors paid summer internships at local high-tech firms.
In order to
address the lack of interest in technology among female
students, M.O.U.S.E. and Andersen launched a technology
program for high school girls. The program focuses on building
an on-line magazine.
"If kids are not taught how to use a
computer, they’re not going to go anywhere," says Ms.
New media champion
In 1997, before
joining M.O.U.S.E., she worked for a year at the Silicon Alley
Reporter as the director of sales. There, she spearheaded the
sale of advertising and event sponsorships and built
relationships with many Internet start-ups. Prior to that, she
ran a company in Manhattan’s garment center, growing its
business to $11 million in annual sales from $1 million in
just two years.
Ms. Wilson also sits on the boards of
Lincoln Center for Performing Arts; Upoc Inc., a developer and
marketer of wireless technology; Web Lab, a nonprofit
start-up; and the Little Red School House, where her children
"She evangelized the idea of creating a
new media industry in New York," says Gordon Gould, a former
colleague at the Silicon Alley Reporter, who’s now chief
executive of Upoc. "Then she took her Rolodex to
Ms. Wilson says the only break from her
hectic schedule is doing The New York
Times crossword, a daily ritual.
"It’s the only
time when I’m not a multitasker," she says.