Company/description: Atlantic.Net Inc. is an ISP.
Based: Gainesville, Florida
1999 sales: About $6 million
2000 projections: About $12 million
Gotta start somewhere: First computers for these technically inclined entrepreneurs? Puranik: "A Texas Instruments TI-94a given to me by my uncle in 1984." Sanchez: "An Atari 400, a long time ago."
Computer connection: Puranik and Sanchez hit it off immediately when they met while attending the University of Florida in Gainesville. "We just happened to sit next to each other and started talking about computers. After a while, we decided to start an ISP," Sanchez recalls. It was UF's lack of Internet access for students that helped the partners along.
Mony, mony: A couple of college students with no business experience couldn't just wave their hands and make an ISP appear. They actually started out in 1994 with a computer store. "We had the idea; we just didn't have the money to do what we wanted," says Sanchez. "We started selling computers to generate cash flow to fund the Internet portion of the company." Puranik and Sanchez didn't pay themselves until the ISP went online a year later.
Across state lines: Atlantic.Net may not be the biggest fish in the ISP ocean, but they are one of the most successful. They just completed their (count 'em!) 10th ISP acquisition and have expanded out of Florida across the southeastern United States. Plus, "we're looking internationally," adds Puranik. In 1998 and 1999, UF recognized Atlantic.Net as one of Florida's 100 fastest-growing private companies. "In some ways, we didn't really think we were going to pull it off. In your head, you always kind of dream the world, right?"