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Hook, Line and Sinker

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If you've never met a die-hard angler, let us introduce you to Brandon White, founder, president and CEO of World Wide Angler Inc.-aka His grandfather took him fishing in the first grade. By college age, the honors student was basing his college acceptance decision on where he could fish regularly.

Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, provided the angling action he craved-so much that he quit lacrosse and soccer. By the time grad school rolled around in 1996, his fishing schedule began disrupting his pursuit of a master's degree in psychology. He scoured the then-sparse Internet for fishing information, but search results lacked. "A bell went off in my head, saying '[The Chesapeake Bay is] a fragment of the market,' " says White, 29. "Fishing's regionally based all over the world. Let's build a company that could be the fishing brand."

To launch his "selfish" endeavor, White used wages from a part-time job to hire now-Webmaster Tom Gattone to create the site. Gattone contributed half the $50,000 start-up capital (partly infused by day trading), and, in December 1996, every angler's dream company was founded.

White raves about his 15-employee Stevensville, Maryland, angling information and products provider-as he should, for it's uniting the worldwide fishing community.

"Pick a job you love and you'll never work again in your life," says White. "Yes, I work 20 hours a day, but if I'm not fishing, I'm talking fishing. How much better does it get?"

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Startups. Subscribe »