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Pair Of Aces

May-December partnerships are a good bet for new businesses.

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This story appears in the December 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Start-up companies are tough to run at best," says Eric Almgren, co-founder and president of Mixman Technologies Inc., a San Francisco designer and manufacturer of music software. "And it's even tougher if you're going into a business you know nothing about." Many young entrepreneurs solve this problem by teaming up with an older partner, someone who can complement a fresh idea with business acumen.

Such was the case for Almgren, 32, and his partner, Josh Gabriel, 30. When they started Mixman in 1993, they had the vision but not the expertise required to break into a new industry. Enter Roger Summit, founder and recent retiree of Dialog Corp., a database information service company in Palo Alto, California, who came on board as a partner with the experience of growing a successful business from the ground up. "Roger was there any time we needed to have a meeting with an investor, to strategize or to write a business proposal," says Almgren.

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