OK . . . we've weeded out the wanna-bes. Who's still with us?
"Let's be quite honest," says Neil J. Closner, president and CEO of BabyUniverse.com, a 12-person Fort Lauderdale, Florida, e-tailer of infant products. "Anybody who got involved in this business had their eye on an exit strategy, either to be acquired or go public. That was in our game plan as well." Now that a public offering is unlikely and many potential acquirers are struggling to finance their own operations, the game plan is to stay on and run the company for several more years. How does Closner, 27, feel about that? "Honestly, I don't know," he says. "My mood changes day to day."
Others are more philosophical. "I didn't anticipate it to be a get-rich-quick scheme," says Betsy Burlingame, founder and president of Expatexchange.com, a New York City-based Web service for expatriates. "It's a very long-term focus. You build relationships and a community and then later bring in e-commerce and make money."
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