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Maybe Next Time

If your business went bust, could you start all over again? They did.

For some web entrepreneurs, once was enough. But these visionaries, who saw their dreams burst along with the dotcom bubble, are using those lessons to give the Web 2.0 economy a whirl.

Michelle Long, 35
Location:Bellingham, Washington
Then: Before going bust in 2001, World2Market.com raised several million dollars from investors for its idea to link entrepreneurs from developing countries with buyers in the U.S.
Now: Sustainable Connections is a nonprofit social network started in 2002 to encourage the growth of small businesses that have embraced sustainable business practices. To date, the group has 600 business members.
Why she's at it again: Long, with her husband, Derek, 38, decided to apply some of the philosophies of World2Market but bring them a lot closer to home. Rick Dubrow, 56, came in as a co-founder.
Lesson learned: Don't try to build a brand overnight. Long says World2Market struggled due to consumers' lack of awareness. Moreover, not many consumers were used to making purchases online. Says Long, "We spent the money too early."

Robert Levitan, 46
Location: New York City
Then: Among other startups, Levitan was founder of Flooz.com, a company that offered online gift currency and rewards but ceased operations in 2001.
Now: Pando Networks, a service that lets computers transfer and share large media files over the internet. The 3-year-old company has raised $11 million in VC funding, and each month approximately 1 million people use it to connect.
Why he's at it again: Levitan decided to take the leap again after his VC introduced him to Laird Popkin, 44, and Yaron Samid, 34. "These guys were each smart in ways that were different from me," Levitan says. "[We] believed the inter-net would become the delivery platform for all media."
Lesson learned: Use the community to help market your idea. When interviewed for this story, Levitan was in Spain, where one Pando member took a four-and-a-half-hour bus trip just to discuss the network in person. Says Levitan, "At my previous startups, we didn't leverage the community effectively."

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This article was originally published in the December 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Maybe Next Time.

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