Year Started: 1996
Based in: New York City
2001 Projections: $26.6 million
Fate wanted Promotions.com to happen. Steve Krein and Daniel Feldman were born one week apart, grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and went to the same high school. They met in ninth grade when both were dating the same girl. "We have no idea where the girl is," says Krein, "but we're together."
The Internet promotions and marketing services company had its origins on a high school class trip to Walt Disney World in 1988. The two seniors were at the Space Mountain ride contemplating graduating and going off to different colleges. "We talked about one day we'd have to do something fun together and maybe even start a business," chair and CEO Krein remembers.
After meeting up again while working for a legal Web site, the pair collaborated on a successful sweepstakes-style promotion for their employer. In 1996, they took the idea, a computer and $30,000 from a friend and launched WebStakes.com. "We got to the Internet very early, pre-gold-rush mentality," says president and COO Feldman.
Funding from an angel investor and mentor got the budding company through the next few years, but in 1999, at the height of the Web boom, the pair needed more capital-lots more. "We raised $90 million between June and September," says Krein.
In 2000, the partners renamed their New York City company Promotions.com to reflect their expanding services. They now list Kraft Foods and NBC among their clients and plan to roll out services for small businesses later this year.
The dotcom world has become more lottery than sure bet, but Krein is confident that the integration of online and offline marketing points to a bright future for Promotions.com. "We know we will not only be a survivor, but be a dominant brand and company," says Krein. Sales for the publicly traded business reached $26.6 million in 2000, up from $10.5 million in 1999.
These young millionaires aren't resting on their laurels. "I'd rather be called a young billionaire," says Krein. We'll check back in a couple years. -Amanda C. Kooser