Global Sports Interactive
Year Started: 1991
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