2001 Small Business profiles
Tuesday, May 15, 2001
4thpass didn't boom, didn't bust
4thpass has collected $8 million in its first round of venture-capital funding from various investors, including OVP Venture Partners of Kirkland. The venture funding will be used to help develop the company's most current product, Mobile Application System.
Classmates.com: Fees are fine
As the same Internet sites struggle to build subscription-based businesses or go under, Renton-based Classmates has amassed 20 million names in its high-school and military directories. Of those registered, roughly 1.2 million have paid a subscription fee as high as $29.95 annually to have access to e-mail addresses of fellow alumni and use other services such as high-school reunion-planning tools and message boards.
Computech reaps rewards for being cheap, effective
Being cheap and effective is fashionable again, and it has helped Computech reap a windfall. Frank Zaccari, the president and chief executive officer of the private company, said the 30-person operation has had two straight quarters with 200 percent profit gains and better than 101 percent year-over-year sales increases. He's projecting a record $15 million to $20 million in sales this year.
Day care goes to the dogs
Specialty businesses targeting dogs have abounded in recent years. The Dogvana doggie day care opened just yesterday in downtown Seattle, adding to bakeries, artists studios and bed-and-breakfasts that serve a canine clientele in the Puget Sound region.
Dog lover defies economic indicators to unleash her dream
When Sue Whitaker decided to open a dog store before Thanksgiving, reaction from suppliers was swift and universal. "Are you crazy?" she recalled one vendor asking. "Don't you know it's a recession?" But there was support from Redmond's dog community, and Whitaker set out to open a specialty dog store in Redmond Town Center in time for the holiday season. She pulled it off last weekend.
Firm places home automation in your own computer's control
Last month Redmond-based Premise Systems launched a Windows-like operating system for home automation that can put virtually any device motion detectors, audio gear, lights, furnaces, hot tubs under a single set of controls operated with familiar Windows-like commands. What's more, Premise can route that single, integrated control screen to a browser anywhere in the world even a Palm.
Hulabee ready to throw first pitch
Ten months after they stepped down as the heads of Humongous Entertainment, founders Shelley Day and Ron Gilbert are launching a new, children's interactive media company in Kirkland: Hulabee Entertainment. Undaunted by the failure of subscription models Slate and TheStreet.com attempted, Hulabee is forging ahead with one of its own.
Interactive setting its sights high
In the world of trading-card games, Wizards of the Coast is the 800-pound gorilla. Last year, a mousy start-up opened up in Pioneer Square--Interactive Imagination, maker of the game "Magi-Nation."
In an industry crowded with too much product and way too many companies, Mac & Jack's African Amber is one of two relatively new, upstart beers to have elbowed their way into pubs and onto supermarket shelves. The other is Fat Tire, a lighter amber beer from the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo. During their rise to prominence in the Northwest, the two companies have taken decidedly different approaches to attract notice.
Patriotic decals a boon for Everett vinyl firm
Achilles USA, a subsidiary of Japan-based Achilles Corp., has been manufacturing vinyl and plastics for almost 30 years in Everett. Immediately after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, it saw demand for its clear, static-cling vinyl skyrocket because so many Americans were trading in fuzzy dice for the American flag.
Software seller Aventail expands, becomes service provider
In the past 18 months, Aventail has transformed from selling software that connects employees and partners remotely to their computer networks to managing a service that does the same and more.
Supply of office stores swells
East Coast-based Staples is the third office-supply superstore to enter the Seattle market, posing a challenge to its rivals and small, independent stores.
TraceDetect among companies making 10-minute dash for venture capital
At the WSA Investment Forum yesterday, the executives at 15 early-stage companies in the region had exactly 10 minutes to impress the audience of investors, who have been a lot less receptive since the technology boom waned.
Wild Tangent heads for jungle
Wild Tangent, a Redmond-based interactive media company, and hundreds of other small operations will struggle to be seen and heard above the din of hundreds of new games, celebrity appearances, scantily clad showgirls and blowout parties at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Despite the noise, the high concentration of decision-makers in one place means 15 minutes of fame here could decide a young company's future.