Never-Ending Stories

Paper Chase

What: A site that screens for plagiarism
Who: John M. Barrie of Turnitin.com, a division of iParadigms LLC
Where: Oakland, California
When: Started in June 1998

When he worked as a teaching assistant at the University of California, Berkeley, John M. Barrie, 35, saw firsthand the problem academic dishonesty posed to educational institutions. So after he graduated in 1998, he and a group of eight friends launched a Web site designed to help teachers catch dishonest students. Today, four of Barrie's co-founders remain in the business--Christian Storm, 31; Emmanuel Briand, 33; Melissa Lipscomb, 31; and Todd Huddleston, 34.

Called Turnitin.com, the system scans high school and college students' work for plagiarism. Students submit a digital version of their term papers online, and Turnitin.com screens the papers against three databases. The business got off to a good start, thanks to $2 million in start-up capital raised from family and friends.

Today, the antiplagiarism system has been adopted by the University of California system, every university in the United Kingdom, Cornell, Duke, Rutgers, and thousands of high schools worldwide. Sales for 2003 are expected to exceed $5 million.

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This article was originally published in the February 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Never-Ending Stories.

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