From the June 1998 issue of Entrepreneur

It's an Ed-Mcmahon-at-the-door kind of moment for us. This is the time, every year-the fourth in a row, for those keeping track-when we announce the 100 hottest new small businesses in the country. With help from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), the world's leading research-based business information provider, we comb the national commercial landscape to determine the entrepreneurial equivalents of sweepstakes winners.
Or maybe not, on second thought. For while sweepstakes winners depend on pure, unadulterated luck, successful entrepreneurs realize that luck is only a byproduct of pure, unadulterated hard work. Factor in pure, unadulterated passion, and you've got as near a formula as exists for running a thriving business.

"Small-business owners really have a passion for what they do," says William F. Doescher, senior vice president and chief communications officer for D&B. "Every one of these hot 100 [companies' owners] have this type of attitude-or they wouldn't be successful."

Not that we measure attitude in this listing. What we do measure-based on D&B's mammoth database-is company sales growth from the year of inception. The criteria we use includes the following:

  • The founder must be actively involved in daily operations and must control at least 51 percent of the business.

  • The business must have been founded no earlier than 1995.

  • Annual sales must have exceeded $1 million in 1997.

  • Companies must meet the SBA's definition of a small business, based on the number of employees and sales figures. (These numbers vary according to industry.)

    Of special interest this year is the presence of Internet firms in our ranking. "This is the first year our list has included small businesses making a living off the In-ternet," observes Doescher. "It's just further evidence that small businesses [and consumers] are migrating to the Internet. [In fact,] 47 percent of small-business owners now have access to the Internet."

    Access to a booming economy is obviously another plus for our entrepreneurial sweepstakes winners. Consumer confidence is high; small-business confidence is even higher. Ironically, however, the latter situation may be more a reflection of the participants themselves than of any economic indicators. "I'm not sure [entrepreneurs] pay an awful lot of attention to whether the stock market continues to grow or whether the economy is in good shape," Doescher says. "They just want to start their own businesses. They want to be owners of their own destiny."

    On that note, prepare to meet a few of these owners of their own destinies in the profiles included on the following pages. These are people for whom pure, unadulterated hard work and luck aren't just concepts-they're a way of life. These are people whose entrepreneurial dreams were not only realized, but were realized at a speed that probably even took them by surprise.

    But such is the nature of dreams, we suppose. They can-and often do-come true. "The great American dream today is [to launch] your own business," says Doescher. "And the wide variety of companies in the Hot 100 underscores the fact that anyone can pursue this dream."

    And that just reaffirms our initial feelings: This is an Ed-McMahon-at-the-door kind of moment.

About Dun & Bradstreet



Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), with the world's largest business information database, tracks 49 million companies worldwide, 11 million in the United States alone. Businesses use D&B's services to find new customers and evaluate their creditworthiness, identify potential suppliers, and collect overdue receivables.

Through face-to-face and telephone interviews and public-records searches, more than 200 million financial transactions are added annually to D&B's files in the United States alone. D&B updates its information base continually-more than 750,000 times each business day.

When businesses are entered into the D&B database, they are issued D-U-N-S numbers (similar to Social Security numbers for companies). The U.S. federal government requires companies to have this number to bid for government contracts. Also used by the United Nations and the European Union, the D&B D-U-N-S number is quickly becoming the universal standard for identifying businesses on the World Wide Web as well.

For more information about D&B, call (800) 234-3867 or visit the D&B Web site at www.dnb.com. To register for a D-U-N-S number, call (800) 333-0505.

Dressed For Success


By Laura Tiffany

John Paul Beltran and Richard Hirsh have shown both entrepreneurial and fashion flair with John Paul Richard Inc., their Chatsworth, California, women's apparel company-so much flair, in fact, that they landed the No. 1 spot in Entrepreneur's Hot 100 ranking with revenues of $46.5 million in 1997, their first full year in business.

The founders joined forces after working together at Melrose, a women's apparel manufacturing company Hirsh had founded in 1974. Hirsh sold the company in 1986 and, after spending 10 years working for the new owner, he and Beltran found the corporate life less than fulfilling. "We decided we'd had enough of the corporate environment," recalls Hirsh. "We wanted to get out and start our own business."

Their experience in the apparel industry proved to be their key to success. With $1 million in start-up capital culled from personal savings, they secured $1.6 million in loans and created a relationship with Heller Financial Inc., a Chicago-based international commercial finance company. This helped them garner $25 million in factor loans (loans backed by outstanding invoices and current orders) last year to purchase raw materials and keep the company above water while it grew. "[Heller] was the financial engine behind our colossal growth," says Hirsh. "It was critical in making [funding] available."

"Heller took a big chance on us because of our extensive industry experience," says Beltran. With these resources, the partners had no problem gathering an experienced staff from industry contacts. They were also able to land accounts with such national retailers as Macy's, Mervyn's and Sears almost immediately.

"Giving a start-up company like John Paul Richard [space] in the stores was not so far-fetched because these were people we'd had tremendous experience with over the years," Hirsh explains.

But most important, the partners' familiarity with the market and cus-tomers helped them discover an unfilled niche: fashionable misses' clothes. "We fill a gap in the department store business," explains Bel-tran, 44. "The misses' department is filled with traditional merchandise. We bring in merchandise that is more fashionable and still very reasonably priced."

"We understand our market and each individual player we deal with," adds Hirsh, 45. "And we have a keen understanding of what will sell at what price point."

Not content to stop with just one clothing line, Beltran and Hirsh are ready to conquer other departments with their fashions. "I think the next [thing to do] is to seek more accounts," says Beltran. "In the future, we'll go after the petite-sized and large-sized customers, [markets] we have barely touched on so far."

With plans to double its astounding first-year revenues this year, John Paul Richard's success shouldn't wear out any time soon.

Hot Wired


By G. David Doran

In the real world, a newcomer to the retail computer ac-cessories market like AMT Component Inc. in Irvine, California, would have a very slim chance of successfully competing with established megastores like Comp-USA and Fry's Electronics. But in the virtual world of the Internet, AMT, which sells more than 35,000 computer products, ranging from printer ink cartridges to network routers, through its Web site, has become a force to be reckoned with. It posted sales of $2.1 million in only its second year of operation, helping to earn it the No. 83 spot in Entrepreneur's Hot 100 ranking.

Alex Chen, 24, started AMT in 1996 with a little help from his savings and his parents' credit status, selling computer peripherals such as monitors and hard drives through ads in computer magazines and a small Web site.

As the number of people purchasing goods and services through the Internet grew, so did AMT, allowing Chen to add more products to his database until the number of offerings began to rival that of the mega-stores-only Chen doesn't have the high overhead of a large retail location or a sales staff.

Chen, who moved to the United States from Taiwan in 1986, nursed the fledgling company along by putting every penny of profit back into the operation and building strong relationships with customers. Paraphrasing Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Chen asserts that customer satisfaction should be the first priority of any online business.

"When you fail to satisfy a customer at a retail store, he'll tell 10 people," says Chen. "But if you [upset] a customer at an e-commerce site, that person will tell 6,000 people by posting his complaint where everyone on the Internet can see it."

The news that Egghead Computer had closed all 80 of its retail locations in February to concentrate its efforts on the Internet was no surprise to Chen, who believes e-commerce will eventually revolutionize the way business and consumers interact in the marketplace.

Power Broker


By Jessica Goins

They say that in Texas, everything is big . . . and Cheryl Thompson-Draper's company is no exception. In 1995, she started Warren Electric Telecom & Utilities, a wholesale distributor of telecommunications and utilities products. Since then, the company that ranked No. 19 in Entrepreneur's Hot 100 has been growing at lightning speed, bringing in $8.25 million in revenues for 1997, with more than $12 million expected this year.

Thompson-Draper's Houston company is roping up a sizable portion of the Lone Star State's telecommunications and utilities products markets. How does she do it? By distributing almost every kind of product used by the power companies and by Southwestern Bell, all the way up to the outlets in the wall, says Thompson-Draper-no small feat in an industry that's been traditionally male-dominated.

"The utilities side is still very male-dominated," says Thompson-Draper. "The telecommunications side is not. The telecommunications industry is very blind to which sex they're dealing with, and they really don't care. It's a new enough industry that it doesn't have any hang-ups from the old days."

Not that Thompson-Draper, 47, was a novice when she started her telecommunications and utilities company. She also owns Warren Electric, the 79-year-old industrial electric company owned by her family that she gained control of in 1993. Her experience turned out to be a big help when she was seeking $2 million in financing for her new company. The banks looked at her track record with Warren Electric, which boasted a Texas-sized $200 million in sales; needless to say, she got the loans. Laughs Thompson-Draper, "I guess I was a good risk." That's a big deal anywhere.

Talk Of The Town


By Michelle Prather

Comedians often target the South as redneck heaven, but Deborah R. and Jim Ford Jr., owners of Entrepreneur's Hot 100 No. 35-ranked Grits Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, make it their business to create a positive image of the place they call home. Their affection for Southern traditions has blossomed into success worth millions.

The husband-and-wife team found its niche in the gift and apparel industries by putting phrases that exemplify Southern traditions and upbringing (such as "Southern Girls Don't Sweat-They Glisten") on mugs, wine glasses, pillows, apparel and more. Their story dates back to August 1995, when native Alabaman Deborah, now 45, screen-printed a phrase she's heard most of her life, "Grits: Girls Raised In The South," onto her volleyball players' T-shirts at the junior high school where she taught and coached. A few months later, she met Jim, now 47, who saw dollar signs in the catch phrase. With an extensive background in sales and marketing, he told his soon-to-be-wife he thought she was sitting on a gold mine. Deborah then applied to trademark the "Grits" phrase and thought up 25 more Southern sayings, such as "PMS: Precious Moody Southerners" and "Southern Girls Know That Friends Are Forevah."

When they sold $65,000 worth of embroidered goods, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, at the Atlanta Apparel Mart's July Gift Show in 1996, the now-married couple decided to quit their jobs and take on Grits full time. "At the next show, we did more than $100,000, and at the next show, we did more than $150,000," says Jim.

The days of relying only on trade shows for visibility are long gone. No strangers to the word "expansion," the Fords have increased their warehouse space three times, and for good reason: They now have 1,620 active accounts, including Lebanon, Tennessee-based restaurant chain Cracker Barrel and 500 Hallmark stores. And this year's Atlanta Gift Mart will see the premiere of a voice chip-enhanced book and stuffed animal series geared toward youngsters.

Success didn't come without some hurdles, however: The Fords encountered theft early on-$50,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from one of their warehouses-and their $4 million-plus sales figures for 1997 could have been close to $5 million if they hadn't suffered an $800,000 loss in revenue due to vendor shipping delays. But a booming business makes it easier to recover. Jim attributes their overwhelming success to their distribution network, the strength of their trademark, their devoted staff and recent CFO addition Doug Johnson.

With Deborah's flair for color, style and catchy sayings, and Jim's knack for running a business, these dynamos are making millions embracing-and marketing-the South. The Fords project sales of $8 million for 1998 and hope to expand nationwide.

High Rollers



By Jesse Hertstein

Randolph and Kathleen Bobe seem to have hit the jackpot with their $11 million food distribution service for Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos. However, theirs is not a story of luck so much as a history of hard work. After receiving a bachelor's degree in food marketing in 1980, Kathleen, 39, worked her way up from assistant director of food service for a hospital to food buyer at Tropicana Hotel & Casino before collaborating on the opening of Chispanic Enterprises Inc. in 1996.

Randy, 49, has always been an entrepreneur: At 10, he caught and sold pigeons to Chinese restaurants and poultry markets in New York City and used the profits to buy women's shoes and clothing to sell from the trunk of his father's car. He rolled cigars for his grandmother, attended the Food and Maritime School, became apprenticed in a butcher shop, and now works as general manager of a major meat supplier-while also serving as vice president of the partners' Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, company, ranked No. 7 in Entrepreneur's Hot 100 ranking.

From the start, the Bobes have drawn no salary from the company, and they do all the work themselves. This hands-on approach has kept Chispanic ahead of the competition. "We're a very small company where we answer the phone, we don't have voice mail, and we're in tune with what customers need," says Kathleen. "If there's a problem, we address it immediately."

But this steadfast patience isn't always easy. "Find what you do best, stick to that, and perfect it," Kathleen advises budding entrepreneurs. "Don't grow faster than you can afford to." With plans to expand their product line as well as sell to the newest casinos in Atlantic City, the Bobes hope their winning streak continues.

Listings 1-10


Research by Adrienne S. Coehlo and Liza Potter

1. John Paul Richard Inc., Chatsworth, CA
Women's apparel manufacturer
John Paul Beltran, Richard Hirsh
Began: 1996 w/18 employees; 68 employees
Initial investment: $1M from savings
1997 sales: $45.68M

2. Telephone Company of Central Florida, Lake Mary, FL
Local & long-distance telephone services
Elder N. Ripper III
Began: 1996 w/5 employees; 64 employees
Initial investment: $1.5M from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $33.82M

3. Heritage Gas Services LLC, Tulsa, OK
Natural gas services
Dave Presley
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 38 employees
Initial investment: $500K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $23.63M

4. Energy Alloys Inc., Houston, TX
Steel distribution & inventory management
Samuel D. Warren, Ralph Mullens, Robert G. Pond
Began: 1995 w/10 employees; 29 employees
Initial investment: $60K from savings
1997 sales: $21.93M

5. Prologix Inc., Horsham, PA
Integration of radio frequency systems
Paul Speese, Terrence O'Neill, David Gulian
Began: 1996 w/8 employees; 15 employees
Initial investment: $300K from savings
1997 sales: $14.5M

6. Dudley Barrett Construction Co., Roswell, GA
General contracting & commercial construction
David Barrett, Jeff Dudley
Began: 1995 w/10 employees; 42 employees
Initial investment: $130K from savings
1997 sales: $21.43M

7. Chispanic Enterprises Inc., Egg Harbor City, NJ
Wholesale food distribution
Kathleen J. Bobe, Randolph T. Bobe
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 8 employees
Initial investment: $76K from friends/family, savings
1997 sales: $11.59M

8. Kay Construction Inc., Cherry Hill, NJ
Construction mgmt. & general contracting
Lorraine Kay, Tom Viviano
Began: 1995 w/10 employees; 15 employees
Initial investment from priv. investors, savings
1997 sales: $14.45M

9. Shonfeld's (USA) Inc., South Hackensack, NJ
Gourmet gift products
Boaz Shonfeld
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $1.3M from friends/family
1997 sales: $14.1M

10. Kompass Food Trading Int'l., River Edge, NJ
Packaged frozen fruits & vegetables importing
Brad Koshar, Jack Simon
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 5 employees
Initial investment: $250K from friends/family, priv. Investors
1997 sales: $9.06M

Listings 11-20

11. Sunkota Construction Inc., Sioux Falls, SD
Contruction & construction management
Robert A. Fraser, Jeanette M. Fraser
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 8 employees
Initial investment: $100K from savings
1997 sales: $8.17M

12. Angel Produce Inc., Torrance, CA
Exporter
Yukio Bito
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 5 employees
Initial investment: $70K from friends/family
1997 sales: $11.39M

13. Digital System Technology, Irwindale, CA
Digital television systems
John T. Duggin Sr.
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 9 employees
Initial investment: $15K from savings
1997 sales: $10.11M

14. High Point Solutions Inc., Sparta, NJ
Communications equipment distribution
Michael T. Mendiburu, Thomas T. Mendiburu
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $1K from credit card
1997 sales: $6.7M

15. Ariston Technologies, Huntington Beach, CA
Computer memory systems
Lazaros Bountour
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 11 employees
Initial investment: $140K from savings
1997 sales: $9.88M

16. Flooring Systems Inc., Fenton, MO
Commercial flooring subcontracting
Ron K. Komlos, Sandra K. Komlos
Began: 1995 w/15 employees; 60 employees
Initial investment: $50K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $9.67M

17. Switch Manufacturing, San Francisco, CA
Snowboard bindings & boots
Erik Andersen, Jeff Sand, Tony Guerrero
Began: 1995 w/6 employees; 28 employees
Initial investment: $45K in equity, $500K from loans
1997 sales: $9.19M

18. SCS America, Foster City, CA
Software consulting services
Michael A. Ober
Began: 1995 w/9 employees; 50 employees
Initial investment: $200K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $8.4M

19. Warren Electric Telecom & Utilities, Houston, TX
Utility & telecom-datacom products
Cheryl L. Thompson-Draper
Began: 1995 w/10 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $2M loan from previous business
1997 sales: $8.25M

20. Organic Ingredients Inc., Aptos, CA
Organic foods
Joseph J. Stern, John Battendieri
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $300K from savings, $1M from line of credit
1997 sales: $5.32M

Listings 21-30

21. Synergistic Computer Solutions, Haleiwa, HI
Hardware & software systems
John Varel
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 50 employees
Initial investment: $50K from credit card
1997 sales: $7.8M

22. Midland-Frantz Construction Group, Park Ridge, IL
General contracting
Larry Ressler, Dan McHugh
Began: 1995 w/6 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $75K from bank loan, priv. investors, savings
1997 sales: $7.8M

23. H. Greenblatt & Co. Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Textile printing
Howard Greenblatt, Toni Payne
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $450K from friends/family, savings
1997 sales: $5.18M

24. Hyneman Companies LLC, Biloxi, MS
Residential construction
Rusty Hyneman, Fay Mitrenga
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $75K from savings
1997 sales: $7.71M

25. Allstar Pipe & Supply Co., Jonesboro, GA
Water & waste-water distribution
Norman L. Gillson, James A. Sowersby
Began: 1996 w/6 employees; 10 employees
Initial investment: $117K from friends/family
1997 sales: $5.11M

26. U.S. Medical Inc., Denver, CO
Medical devices
Carson & Roesener families
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 30 employees
Initial investment: None
1997 sales: $4.76M

27. Technoquip Co. Inc., Houston, TX
Wholesale manufacturers' representative
Angel E. Santiago
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 5 employees
Initial investment: $60K from friends/family, bank loan, credit card
1997 sales: $4.74M

28. rs-unix.com, San Francisco, CA
Computer systems integration services
Jeff Medeiros
Began: 1996 w/6 employees; 11 employees
Initial investment: $15K from credit card, savings
1997 sales: $4.46M

29. Apex Design Technology Inc., Anaheim, CA
Hydraulic, pneumatic & electronic systems
David J. Reiniger, Todd M. Gallagher, Harsoyo Lukito
Began: 1995 w/12 employees; 65 employees
1997 sales: $6.66M

30. Showcase of Homes Inc., Piedmont, SC
Manufactered home sales & real estate brokerage
Tim W. Revis
Began: 1995 w/8 employees; 25 employees
Initial investment: $140K from savings
1997 sales: $6.66M

Listings 31-40

31. Magnum Staffing Services Inc., Houston, TX
Staffing services
Caroline Brown, Darrel O. Brown
Began: 1996 w/108 employees; 365 employees
Initial investment: $70K from friends/family
1997 sales: $4.16M

32. Hired-Hand Green Inc., Bremen, AL
Commercial greenhouse manufacturer
Steven Crider, Grant Crider, Shawn Crider
Began: 1996 w/17 employees; 38 employees
Initial investment: $250K from bank loan
1997 sales: $4.06M

33. International Security & Trading, Miami, FL
Security equipment
Augusto Perez, Jesus Gonzalez
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 10 employees
Initial investment: $25K from savings
1997 sales: $6.04M

34. National Service Solutions, Moorestown, NJ
National facility management services
James H.B. Hoff
Began: 1996 w/10 employees; 15 employees
Initial investment: $300K+ from priv. investors, savings
1997 sales: $4.03M

35. Grits Inc., Birmingham, AL
Southern-themed embroidered goods
James C. Ford Jr., Deborah R. Ford
Began: 1996 w/5 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $100K from priv. investors, credit card, savings
1997 sales: $4.02M

36. Sente Financial Corp., Sacramento, CA
Mortage lending services
Marc Ely, Susan Ely
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 60 employees
Initial investment: $400K from savings
1997 sales: $5.96M

37. TERRA Constructors Ltd., Denton, TX
Geo-technical contracting
George Koelling, Dennis Collins, Chris McGhee, Virgil Jarnagin, Rick Graves
Began: 1996 w/20 employees; 25 employees
Initial investment: $600K from savings
1997 sales: $3.95M

38. DMR & Associates Inc., Sacramento, CA
Staffing services
David H. Waldschmitt
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $150K from savings
1997 sales: $5.81M

39. Curbs Plus Inc., Rossville, GA
Roof curbs & accessories
Marc Brower, Ken Herrick, Steve Jensen, Jon Steed
Began: 1996 w/15 employees; 50 employees
Initial investment: $425K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $3.83M

40. CNG Communications Inc., Tucson, AZ
Telecommunications products & services
Paul Bishop
Began: 1995 w/25 employees; 78 employees
Initial investment: $150K from savings
1997 sales: $5.74M

Listings 41-50

41. Summit Industrial Construction, Lawrenceville, GA
Industrial construction & maintenance
Michael T. Ballard, Mark W. Bryan
Began: 1996 w/12 employees; 35 employees
Initial investment: $50K from bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $3.52M

42. Business Alliance Capital Corp., Princeton, NJ
Commercial financing
Theodore Kompa, Jeffrey Goldrich
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 28 employees
Initial investment: $6.1M from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $5.21M

43. Tactica Technology Group, Dallas, TX
Business & technology consulting, software products
Rene Larrave, Kevin Albright, Eddie Mayfield
Began: 1996 w/15 employees; 30 employees
Initial investment: $400K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $3.46M

44. Lakeshore Staffing Inc., Chicago, IL
Temporary & permanent staffing services
John P. Johnson, Scott C. Allen
Began: 1995 w/4 employees; 20 employees
Initial investment: $100K from savings
1997 sales: $5.17M

45. Steele Solutions Inc., Waukesha, WI
Custom mezzanines
Richard G. Kuchler, Terry E. Young, Micheal J. Thelen, Bill D. Benning
Began: 1996 w/7 employees; 9 employees
Initial investment: $80K from savings
1997 sales: $3.36M

46. Sams Data Products Inc., Annapolis, MD
VAR of computer products & services
John D. Soderberg
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 11 employees
Initial investment: $60K from friends/family
1997 sales: $5.02M

47. IXC Marketing Inc., Anaheim, CA
Long-distance services reseller
Mohamad Hassan, Mazda Begum
Began: 1996 w/10 employees; 35 employees
Initial investment: $60K from friends/family
1997 sales: $3.34M

48. Rankserve, Newbury Park, CA
Copier products
Tim J. Marr
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 3 employees
Initial investment: $5K from savings
1997 sales: $3.25M

49. Fastener Link Inc., Houston, TX
Industrial fasteners
Nick Hasegawa
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 4 employees
Initial investment: $100K from savings
1997 sales: $3.24M

50. Consignment Plus Home Furnishings Inc., Walnut Creek, CA
Home furnishings/accessories, art/jewelry on consignment
Patti Evans
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 28 employees
Initial investment: $78K from friends/family
1997 sales: $3.16M

Listings 51-60

51. RAScom Inc., Salem, NH
Open system remote-access servers
Mark Galvin
Began: 1996 w/29 employees; 65 employees
Initial investment: $17.77M from friends/family, priv. investors, venture capital
1997 sales: $3.14M

52. Aztech Professional Services Inc., Phoenix, AZ
Information technology services
Kent E. Dicks
Began: 1996 w/22 employees; 70 employees
Initial investment: $75K from friends/family, credit card
1997 sales: $3.14M

53. Software USA, San Diego, CA
Software distribution
James Clelland
Began: 1996 w/45 employees; 75 employees
Initial investment: $1M from friends/family
1997 sales: $3.12M

54. ASA Solutions Inc., Scottsdale, AZ
VAR for Lawson Software, periphonics
David Atkins, Steve Arnold, Tom Schollmeyer
Began: 1995 w/27 employees; 34 employees
Initial investment: $66K from savings
1997 sales: $4.52M

55. Curtis-Straus LLC, Littleton, MA
Laboratory testing services
Jon D. Curtis, James E. Lewis, Isidor Straus
Began: 1996 w/11 employees; 22 employees
Initial investment: $300K from credit card, savings
1997 sales: $2.83M

56. Rehab Medical Inc., Santa Fe Springs, CA
Medical supplies & equipment
Mario Rea, Jose Cava
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 3 employees
Initial investment: $70K from savings
1997 sales: $2.8M

57. PC Solutions Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
Network systems integration
Paul A. Stern, Stuart R. Cantin
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 20 employees
Initial investment: $30K from priv. Investors
1997 sales: $4.1M

58. SightLine Studios Inc., Starke, FL
Custom designs/displays for entertainment/educational industries
Dennis MacDonald, Leonard Weinbaum, Andrew Kunzie, Joel H. Garrett
Began: 1996 w/20 employees; 73 employees
Initial investment: $25K from friends/family, savings
1997 sales: $2.67M

59. Fine Furniture Leather/Sleep Gallery, Waukee, IA
Retail leather furniture & sleep products
Eric C. Polson, James G. Sanders
Began: 1995 w/4 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $40K from friends/family
1997 sales: $4M

60. DBI of North America, Joliet, IL
Construction/mining equipment
Paul Dillon
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 10 employees
Initial investment: $25K from savings
1997 sales: $2.63M

Listings 61-70

61. National Structures Inc., Syracuse, NY
General contracting & construction management
Dominick Madia, Robert Milne
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $40K from savings
1997 sales: $2.59M

62. Simple Network Communications, La Jolla, CA
Web site hosting services
Robert Bingham, Mark Hopperton, Tim Traver
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 24 employees
Initial investment: $10K from friends/family, credit card
1997 sales: $2.51M

63. Alliance Telecom Services Inc., Miami, FL
Long-distance services reseller
Hugo Vizcarra, David Guerra
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $200K from friends/family
1997 sales: $2.49M

64. Bird Co., Palo Alto, CA
Commercial print sales & production
Patrick J. Bird
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 1 employee
Initial investment: $25K from bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $2.49M

65. Control Solutions Inc., Lexington, KY
Industrial control system designs
Tracey Holder, Jim Graham, Earl Camic, Roger Cox, Gary Bomar
Began: 1996 w/5 employees; 20 employees
Initial investment: $30K from savings
1997 sales: $2.45M

66. Bri-Mar Manufacturing Inc.,Chambersburg, PA
Hydraulic dump trailers
Brian Wise, Marcus Blank
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 25 employees
Initial investment: $36K from friends/family, savings
1997 sales: $3.66M

67. Telecom Labs Inc., Seattle, WA
Voice & data network systems
Doug Graham, Bruce Shelby
Began: 1996 w/15 employees; 23 employees
Initial investment: $350K from bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $2.44M

68. Rick's Uptown Market, Sacramento, CA
Grocery store
Rick Miller
Began: 1996 w/12 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $100K from priv. investors, savings
1997 sales: $2.44M

69. Dascom Systems Inc., St. Paul, MN
Videoconferencing systems/educational services
Dan Takkunen, Scott Apfelbacher
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 11 employees
Initial investment: $120K from savings
1997 sales: $3.59M

70. Next Generation Health Services, Gilbert, AZ
Health-care business/technology services
Matthew A. Nielsen, John Nielsen
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 50 employees
Initial investment: $15K from owners' capital investment
1997 sales: $2.36M

Listings 71-80

71. PathNet Institute, Van Nuys, CA
Cancer testing & research
Alan Kaye
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 58 employees
Initial investment: $46K from savings
1997 sales: $2.32M

72. Priority Logistic Services Inc., Columbia, TN
Transportation brokerage
Timothy Bartels
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 8 employees
Initial investment from friends/family, bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $2.31M

73. Crosslink Inc., Boulder, CO
Wireless data systems
Gary A. Zarlengo, Gordon E. Hardman, Michael D. Carpenter
Began: 1995 w/4 employees; 39 employees
Initial investment: $12K from savings
1997 sales: $3.45M

74. Seaway Marine Inc., Toledo, OH
Boat sales & services
Chandrakumar Sinnadurai
Began: 1996 w/5 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $50K from savings
1997 sales: $2.28M

75. Fire Sprinkler of Nashville LLC, Nashville, TN
Fire protection systems
Patrick J. Stella, Wayne Dorr
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 30 employees
Initial investment: $250K from bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $3.41M

76. J.P. Rivard Trailer Sales Inc., North Chelmsford, MA
Trailer sales
Joseph P. Rivard
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 4 employees
Initial investment: $50K from friends/family
1997 sales: $3.4M

77. Deron Products Int'l. Inc., Chula Vista, CA
Frozen seafood importer & equipment exporter
Geok S. Lee, Hiang J. Lee
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 3 employees
Initial investment: $150K from friends/family, priv. Investors
1997 sales: $2.23M

78. Essential Eight Communications Inc.(E8C), Oklahoma City, OK
Telecommunications equipment
LaJuana Celestine, Juana Tubbs, Linda Pinkerton, Arlene Pinkerton
Began: 1995 w/4 employees; 9 employees
Initial investment: $10K from friends/family
1997 sales: $3.34M

79. Duggan Contracting Corp., Saint Peters, MO
Commercial contracting
Patrick Duggan
Began: 1996 w/30 employees; 40 employees
Initial investment: $150K from selling real estate assets
1997 sales: $2.22M

80. Studio Tech Supply Inc., Dallas, TX
Professional audio systems sales & services
Al Priest, Barbara Hicks-Priest
Began: 1995 w/5 employees; 8 employees
Initial investment: $40K from savings
1997 sales: $3.25M

Listings 81-90

81. Bite LLC, Redmond, WA
Golf footwear
Dale Bathum
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 10 employee
Initial investment: $1.6M from friends/family, priv. Investors
1997 sales: $2.14M

82. Davocom One Inc., Miami, FL
Computer & telecommunications systems
Luis Rodriguez, Jesus Pena
Began: 1995 w/6 employees; 40 employees
Initial investment: $80K from friends/family, bank loan, credit card, savings
1997 sales: $3.18M

83. AMT Component Inc., Irvine, CA
Online computer superstore
Alex Chen, Pi Pao Chen
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 10 employees
Initial investment: $10K from friends/family
1997 sales: $2.1M

84. Broadbent Selections Inc., San Francisco, CA
Wine importer
Bartholomew Broadbent
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 4 employees
Initial investment: $200K from savings
1997 sales: $2.1M

85. ServiCentre Mortgage Inc., San Carlos, CA
Mortage brokerage
Donald R. Douglass, Robert B. Brown Jr.
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 6 employees
Initial investment: $60K from savings
1997 sales: $2.08M

86. AdComm Inc., South Hackensack, NJ
Wireless telecommunications equipment
Allen S. Cohen
Began: 1996 w/5 employees; 41 employees
Initial investment: $250K from savings
1997 sales: $2.03M

87. DataChoice Network Services LLC, Littleton, CO
Telecommunications services
G. Kelley Allen
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 3 employees
Initial investment: $250K from savings
1997 sales: $1.99M

88. Texatronics Inc., Richardson, TX
Assembly of electronics
Tung Nguyen
Began: 1995 w/15 employees; 40 employees
Initial investment: $100K from savings
1997 sales: $2.93M

89. Brothers Technology Inc., Miami, FL
Computer hardware & software sales
Alexi C. Daher Jr. & Marconi Naziazeni
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 4 employees
Initial investment: $18K from savings
1997 sales: $1.95M

90. Commercial Business Solutions, Durham, NC
Office automation products & services
John C. Bland
Began: 1996 w/6 employees; 28 employees
Initial investment: $20K from savings
1997 sales: $1.93M

Listings 91-100

91. IQuES, Northville, MI
ISO-certification training company
Robert C. Wilson
Began: 1996 w/3 employees; 18 employees
Initial investment: $200K from bank loan, savings
1997 sales: $1.89M

92. Page One Construction Inc., Chino Valley, AZ
General contracting
Johvonn J. Zito
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 28 employees
Initial investment: $66K from savings
1997 sales: $1.89M

93. Sunlight International Inc., Miami, FL
Computer components importer
Chi-Hsun Sun
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 5 employees
Initial investment: $41.4K from savings
1997 sales: $1.89M

94. Engineous Software Inc., Morrisville, NC
Software engineering design optimization & integration products
Siu S. Tong, David J. Powell
Began: 1995 w/4 employees; 57 employees
Initial investment: $5M from priv. investors, savings
1997 sales: $2.83M

95. Illinois Process Equipment, Schaumburg, IL
Fluid-handling products distributor
Greg Rossi
Began: 1996 w/4 employees; 7 employees
Initial investment: $35K from savings
1997 sales: $1.86M

96. Lighting Management Consultants Inc., Houston, TX
Lighting & electrical products & services
Timothy J. Carnes
Began: 1995 w/6 employees; 48 employees
Initial investment: $54K from savings
1997 sales: $2.79M

97. Kidstuff Inc., Asheville, NC
Children's novelty items
Z. Ben Biber
Began: 1996 w/1 employee; 35 employees
Initial investment: $50K from loan
1997 sales: $1.85M

98. Showcase Systems Inc., Carthage, TX
Material-handling systems in plastic bottle industry
Vincent Vernon
Began: 1996 w/2 employees; 5 employees
Initial investment: $45K from savings
1997 sales: $1.83M

99. Stahla Homes Inc., Norfolk, NE
Manufactured home sales
Ray Stahla, Julie Stahla
Began: 1995 w/2 employees; 8 employees
Initial investment: $15K from friends/family, bank loan
1997 sales: $2.65M

100. Top of Texas Inc., Hereford, TX
Custom feed meal equipment manufacturer
Matthew J. Collier, Kathleen J. Collier
Began: 1995 w/3 employees; 30 employees
Initial investment: None
1997 sales: $2.59M