Forever Young

Michael Rubin, 28

Global Sports Interactive
Year Started: 1991
Web site:www.globalsports.com
Based in: New York City
2001 Projections: $42.8 million

Michael Rubin doesn't know the meaning of the word "typical." At age 13, when most budding entrepreneurs are opening lemonade stands, he started a ski repair shop in his parents' basement. The operation had expanded to five retail stores by the time his high school graduation rolled around. And that was just the opening volley.

In 1991, after selling his ski shops, Rubin founded KPR Sports International, an off-price athletic wear company. KPR evolved into a diversified company under the name Global Sports Inc.

In 1999, Rubin hit on a new game plan and a new tag line. "I heard the Internet calling," says Rubin. Global Sports Interactive was started later that year. Based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Global Sports Interactive creates and runs e-commerce sporting goods sites for companies like The Athlete's Foot and FoxSports.com. Rubin's business handles everything from technology development to order fulfillment.

The B2B approach to B2C is certainly helping Global Sports to thrive on the shaky Web playing field. "The retailers are happy because they're immediately profitable in e-commerce, and unlike other dotcoms, we don't have to spend millions of dollars promoting our online business [to consumers]," Rubin says.

Rubin, an avid sports fan, describes his workdays as "business adventures." "Global Sports is a lifelong passion for me," he says, "and I think it's that passion that keeps everything from getting stale." With $42.8 million in 2000 sales and deals to handle e-commerce fulfillment for Kmart's Bluelight.com and Northeast retailer Modell's Sporting Goods, think of him as the Tiger Woods of the sports e-commerce world. -Amanda C. Kooser

Entrepreneur: What is the biggest challenge you've faced?
Michael Rubin: Executing the business model. In the beginning, we had to develop a technology platform, purchase sufficient inventory, design our first sites and create a quality customer service center--all from scratch and in a limited time frame.

Entrepreneur: What do you see in the future for Global Sports?
Rubin: My goal is to make Global Sports into a business that is sensible for not only myself but also my investors, partners, customers and employees.

Entrepreneur: What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
Rubin: The best part about being an entrepreneur is watching this business that I've created and nurtured for the last 15 years grow and change into something that is truly shaping the way e-commerce is done.

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This article was originally published in the November 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Forever Young.

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