By Sean M. Lyden
Looking for a way to get an Internet-related business off the ground? Consider an Internet incubator like Phase 1 in Laurel, Maryland.
Founded in July 1997 by Doug Humphrey, 38, and his wife, Lisa Losito, 27, Phase 1 offers Internet-related start-ups office space with high-speed Internet access; at-cost legal, accounting and human resources support; and access to the expertise of Losito and Humphrey, who used to own Internet service provider Digex Inc.
Universities and government sectors have housed tech incubators for years, mostly as nonprofits catering to a broad spectrum of high-tech start-ups. Losito and Humphrey's approach is different: They're for-profit and accept only cutting-edge Internet firms. "Because they're all Internet-related," says Losito, "our members can share a focused set of services and vendors as well as similar experiences."
To enter Phase 1, start-ups must give up about 3 percent of the company and must graduate--that is, move out--within 24 months. "In the Internet world," says Humphrey, "if your business doesn't take off in two years or less, it never will."
For a list of Internet incubators near you, visit the National Business Incubators Association's Web site at http://www.nbia.org
Duncan Yo-Yos, c/o Flambeau Products Corp., (800) 457-5252, http://www.flamprod.com
Gift Toppers, (888) 443-8867, (213) 463-6869, email@example.com
Phase 1, 312 Laurel Ave., Laurel, MD 20707, http://www.phase1.org