Blanket Statement

On a Shoestring

What: An Internet privacy software company
Who: Jon Oringer of SurfSecret Software
Where: New York City
When: Started in 1997
Start-Up Cost: $0

When Jon Oringer decided to use his computer know-how to start a company and create his own Internet privacy software, he became completely self-sufficient, although mom and dad were there to support him all the way.

Oringer, who lived with his parents while attending graduate school for computer science, already owned a computer. Fortunately, Oringer had been "programming forever," so in the comfort of his own room, he created a Web site and wrote his own ordering system, thus conveniently eliminating the costs of hiring a Web developer and purchasing shopping software. The Web server space cost $100 per month, which Oringer paid for himself during the first two months. By the company's third month in business, however, his revenue stream easily covered those expenses.

Because he was a full-time student sharing a roof with his parents, Oringer, 28, had the luxury of paid utility bills. Now working out of his own apartment in New York City, he employs four off-site programmers but still codes everything himself and automates as much as possible, thereby keeping his costs extremely low.

His first product, SurfSecret, has been licensed to many public libraries and was soon followed by PopupEliminator in 2001. Oringer is currently working on spam-elimination and firewall software, and expects sales to reach $700,000 for 2003.

--April Y. Pennington
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This article was originally published in the March 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Blanket Statement.

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