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Animal House

Running a business out of your dorm

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

For the average student, school is stressful enough--juggling classes, doing homework, calling mom and fitting some partying into a seven-day week. Now imagine running a business out of your already-chaotic campus home--persuading your dormmates that rap isn't good background music for business calls and assuring your clients there won't be pizza stains on their invoices--and you've got your work cut out for you.

Elliott Frutkin and Harry Schechter began their Web solutions company with these obstacles and more: The two childhood friends were attending universities half a country apart, they knew next to nothing about Web design, and they were doing all this while living in dorms. But when a professor offered Frutkin $200 to build a Web site, the starving student couldn't say no. He called Schechter, a systems analysis major, who cracked the books and figured out this new thing called the Web--new in 1995, anyway. One professor led to another, and the partners christened their company Doceus Inc. Now housed in posh offices in Washington, DC, the company brought in $1.3 million in 1999 and expects $4.6 million this year.

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