Not every entrepreneur is fit to schmooze with the likes of Microsoft hotshots, but those who can develop must-have software might just be able to catch a ride on the computer giant's coattails. James Wong and Tim Nguyen, 34 and 36, respectively, were in for the ride of their lives when they created Prophet 3.0, a sales and contact manager for Outlook. The software, which enhances Outlook's functions, has salespeople hooked. "People aren't looking for complicated software with 1,000 features," says Wong. "They're saying, 'Give me my critical features that are easy to use in an environment I'm familiar with.' That's why we created Prophet."
Wong and Nguyen founded their Bellevue, Washington, software company, Avidian Technologies, in 2002. Today, more than 15,000 companies worldwide use their software, and sales at the fast-growing company are expected to reach between $3 million and $4 million this year.