One feeling shared by survivors is thankfulness that they didn't bag a pocketful of venture capital when it was there for the taking. Given that venture capitalists typically only offered their backing if the entrepreneurs committed to a growth plan that would likely have bankrupted them by now, it makes sense.
"We never raised venture capital, so we didn't feel pressure," Burlingame says. She found the crash "kind of reassuring," she adds, speaking for those who failed to secure venture backing while the getting was, seemingly, good. Those who did get venture money unfailingly raised it, as ebates did, before the crash. But Isolani and other survivors report benefiting from unusually sensible and patient venture backers who didn't push them to chase unsustainable market share goals.
Of course, being thankful for still being in business doesn't preclude them from hoping that their long-term goals of exiting in a blaze of millions will still come true. "It'll be a steady growing business, and we could still potentially be bought out," figures Burlingame.
Closner reports being in frequent contact with potential buyers of Baby-Universe, but none have made an attractive offer. Meanwhile, he's looking at the day-to-day job of running a company. "I've definitely climbed a very steep cliff and come a long way," Closner says. "But basically my mindset now is that I'm settling in to grow a business."
Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Cutting Edge" columnist.