Hip To Be Square

Fast Track

Names and ages: Aaron Fessler, 26, president and CEO; Angel Fessler, 30, CFO; and Andrew Fessler, 22, chief technology officer

Company name and description: Allegro, an Internet and Intranet messaging solution company based in Dayton, Ohio

Starting Point: $5,000 in 1995

1999 sales projections: $7 million

Do-it-yourself man: Working as an administrator at a Washington, DC, law firm, Aaron was saddled with the project of hooking up the firm's e-mail system to the Internet. After much research, he concluded the costs were too high for implementing the system in-house--and realized there must be a sharp demand for a service-based company to provide this expertise to companies for just a few hundred dollars per month. Aaron posted his business idea on an online newsgroup--and got over 200 responses from interested customers within days.

Raise the roof: With little start-up cash on-hand, Aaron chose to save money on rent by setting up shop on the top floor of his father's barn. It was then that his siblings, Angel and Andrew, came on board. Nine months later, the trio knew they'd outgrown the space when they couldn't get any more phone lines running into their digs. "In rural Ohio, there were only so many wires," Aaron laments.

E-mail mania: Today, Allegro provides e-mail solutions to over 1,200 fast-growing ventures, including Mercedes Benz, the U.S. Olympic Committee and several New York City law firms. Keeping up with the times, the company has expanded into the areas of virus protection, content filtering, e-mail management and security.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hip To Be Square.

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