Name/age:Farhad Mohit, 31
Company/description: BizRate.com rates e-commerce Web sites for consumers.
Based: Los Angeles
Sales: The company does not release sales figures, but according to the Los Angeles Times, it's worth $500 million.
Something new: Dressing more for comfort than for corporate life, Farhad Mohit makes his own rules and has carved a niche for BizRate.com by making it less scary for consumers to shop online. He started BizRate.com in 1996 after a job at a consulting firm showed he wasn't meant for the rat race. Back to school at Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia, Mohit decided not to interview for jobs at all and concentrated solely on the Net.
Healthy fixation: His Net obsession spawned the business plan for BizRate.com as a class project. And failure was not an option-no interviews equaled no job offers. But having no other options actually helped during the rough times (and there were plenty). Just two days after deciding to move to Los Angeles for the start-up phase, one of his partners quit for a more secure corporate job. And his other partner, friend and former classmate Henri Asseily, 29, (BizRate.com's chief technical officer), was thinking about joining his family's business. Thankfully, he didn't. Mohit also hired David Reibstein, mentor and former vice dean of the Wharton School, for much-needed guidance and expertise that proved critical in getting financing.
On the map: Today, BizRate.com is the 47th biggest Web site and the 13th largest e-commerce site (according to Media Metrix), and it lists about 3,600 online merchants. A recent partnership with Consumer Reports Online promises even more success. Farhad Mohit's advice to entrepreneurs? "Make the jump. Until you're fully immersed and don't have any other options, you don't know what you're capable of."