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$45 Million So Far--and No End in Sight

This $45 million web-hosting company has grown at a breakneck speed--and it all started in an apartment with no outside financing.

Description: Web-hosting and data center infrastructure provider
Founders: Christopher Faulkner, 37
Location: Bedford, Texas
2004 projected sales: More than $45 million
http://www.cihost.com

What's the Score? C I Host commands some impressive figures: 210,000 customers, as many as 5,000 new customers every month, 8,000 resellers around the world, a 37,000-square-foot data center and 9,000 servers. Another interesting number: 15. That's the age at which Christopher Faulkner started his first business selling baseball cards and sports memorabilia out of a small storefront in Bedford, Texas. Now he helps businesses like that one get online.

From Fanzine to Business: There have been a few stops along the way. "I've started 201 corporations, and 197 of them failed miserably, which is a life lesson that I learned. To be successful, you have to fail along the way," says Faulkner. He built his first website as a fanzine for the band Pearl Jam in 1995, and by the end of the year, he was running a fledgling version of C I Host out of his apartment.

Growth Spurt: C I Host soon outgrew Faulkner's apartment and today has offices and data centers in Bedford, Texas, as well as Chicago and Los Angeles--and soon, London. And Faulkner has done it all without the help of VC financing or loans. "We're debt-free," he says. Bootstrapping and growing at a breakneck pace aren't the easiest things to reconcile.

The Host With the Most: Faulkner keeps the ship sailing smoothly by maintaining 15-hour workdays. Busy as he is, he always has time for his customers. How many CEOs do you know who conduct their own weekly internet chat for all comers? Faulkner's experience and business savvy belie his age. Fortunately for C I Host, he could be at the helm for a long time to come.

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