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About Home Calendar Forums Services - SoCal TechNews - Tuesday, October 5, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999 by Benjamin F. Kuo
ISSN: 1524-6736

   -- Special: Interview with Bernard Louvat,
   -- Gemstar Buys TV Guide
   -- CallWave Frees Up Phone Lines
   -- eTailers Focus on Customer Service
   -- Soros Sells EarthLink Shares
   -- Activision Acquires Neversoft
   -- PCWorld Looks At Car Buying Online
   -- HomePage Selects Kalis & Savage

   Upcoming Events


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Special: Interview with Bernard Louvat
In my continuing interviews with local entrepreneurs and other high
tech movers and shakers, I had a brief interview with Bernard Louvat
of Louvat is the Founder, CEO, and President of Bizbuyer,
a business to business e-commerce site startup in Santa Monica.
Bizbuyer is backed by CMGI @Ventures as well as eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Bernard Louvat:

BK: What made you decide to start BizBuyer, and how did you get
    the idea?

BV: I decided to start because I am an entrepreneur at heart and
working in the industry without doing a start-up became increasingly
difficult for me -I was working at CitySearch prior to I
identified the small business market as underserved and thought the small
busineses were a primary target group to use the Net to streamline their
procurement process. I was also heavily influenced by the success of eBay. I
had experience with small businesses as I worked for Office Depot in the
past and started their operations in Europe. I also started several
businesses in the past and built to serve the procurement needs
I had when running a small business

BK: What sort of companies are using BizBuyer, how are they using it?

BV: Mostly small businesses are using (1-100 employees). 
Buyers are posting Requests For Quotes on the site and collect Quotes from
vendors through; they also read our Buying Guides about
business products and services and educate themselves prior to a purchasing
decision. They find that saves them a lot of time and allow
them to make purchasing decisions faster.
Sellers are identifying hot leads and send them quotes for their purchasing
needs; they reduce their customer acquisition costs and increase their
geographic coverage through our system

BK: Southern California entrepreneurs often talk about how difficult it is
   to find capital.  How did you hook up with CMGI and eBay CEO Meg Whitman?

BV: We hooked up with CMGi through one of our angel investors who work with
them and present them with deals. We hooked up with Meg Whitman through our internal connections.

BK: What is BizBuyer's next step, and where do you see the business going
   in the next year?

BV: next steps: 

	raise a new round of financing
	add lots of new business products/services categories (currently 25)
	significantly increase traffic to the site in one year:

	a public company
	a major brand in the small business market
	millions of happy users!

BK: Finally, what advice would you give other Southern California
   entrepreneurs trying to launch their own high tech/internet businesses

BV: Leverage the increasing number of sources of venture capital that are
developing in Southern Cal. Believe in what they and to do and never give up but do not be stubborn either; listen to the marketplace and change the idea if need be.

BK: Thanks!

*** Thinking of your next hot e-commerce startup? Well use our handy
    dandy new e-commerce Dot Com Name Generator to figure it out!
    (Just a little fun :-)  - Ben

Gemstar Buys TV Guide
Pasadena-based Gemstar International, makers of the VCR Plus, said it would
buy TV Guide Inc. for about $9.2B in stock and debt. The company wants
to use TV Guide's expertise in selling ads for its electronic program listings.
TV Guide International, the new company, will be headed by Gemstar CEO Henry Yuen.

CallWave Frees Up Phone Lines
Santa Barbara-based CallWave has introduced a new product called the
Internet Answering Machine, which allows a user to hear incoming
calls while browsing via a single phone line. The product works by recognizing
when a user is online and redirecting calls to its own servers, which allows
callers to leave a voice message--which can be heard immediately on the users's
computer speaker.

eTailers Focus on Customer Service
Retailers such as Westlake Village-based and Santa Monica-based
EToys are focusing on customer service for the coming season. They, along with
other e-commerce sites, are finding that customer service is the key to
survival--even if that means (in EToys' case) hiring temporary workers for
the holiday season to answer the phones.

Soros Sells EarthLink Shares
George Soros, the billionaire financier, as well as one of his funds has
filed with regulators to sell about $8.6M of EarthLink Network.

Activision Acquires Neversoft
Activison has acquired Los Angeles videogame maker Neversoft for
approximately 700,000 shares of Activision common stock. Neversoft
developed such titles as Apocalypse, MDK, Tony Hawk's Pro Skaer, and
is currently working on a Spider-Man product. Neversoft reportedly has
two development teams working out of its LA headquarters.

PCWorld Looks At Car Buying Online
PCWorld looks at car buying online and Southern California firms and Autobytel.,1212,12331+1+7,00.html

HomePage Selects Kalis & Savage
Pasadena-based selected Kalis & Savage Advertising of 
Pacific Palisades as its ad agency. The agency previously launched
eToys and Futurestep (two other idealab companies) in 1998.

*** Forward this on! Don't keep things a secret!

Upcoming Events This Week
Full calendar at

** Am I missing your event? Tell me about it!

October 5, Nationwide -- "Techies Day". The first annual celebration for
technology professionals to acknowledge their contributions to our world.

October 5, Los Angeles -- "BUILDING A DIGITAL BUSINESS" Presentations by
KPMG, Latham & Watkins and Viant. Venice Interactive Community. See

October 6, Los Angeles -- "Distributed Web Hosting" Patrick Johnson,
Cable & Wireless. Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Computing
Machinery. See

October 7, Newport Beach -- SCSC Orange County Chapter "Getting Your
Story Told: The Public Relations in Technology Companies". Examine the
role Public Relations plays in developing a technology company's
strategic direction, key messages and differentiators and the value of
communication with the press, industry analysts and customers. See

October 7, Los Angeles -- Tech Talk Live - A Series on High Technology.
Alfred Mann, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MiniMed Inc.

October 7, San Diego -- "Developing an E-Com Site is Getting Easier!" Joe
Austin, President of Miva Corporation. San Diego World Organization of
Webmasters. See

October 8, Costa Mesa -- "Facilities: Issues for Growing Companies" Software
Council of Southern California CFO Forum.

October 8, Menlo Park -- "A View From the South" Panel discussion on
Southern California's booming technology and new media market.
Demonstrations by Man vs. Machine, PeopleSupport,,, Inquizit Technologies, FCB Information Sciences. See

October 8, Pacific Palisades -- "Bringing New Media into the Community"
Women's New Media Alliance. See

October 9, Pasadena -- "Growing a Business in the Internet Age"
Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum 10th Annual Workshop for Entrepreneurs. See

October 12, Burbank -- "Heads Up Troopers" An Evening with Foundation
Imaging. Join Foundation Imaging for a behind the scenes look at the new
CG TV animated series, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, based on
the book "Starship Troopers," by Robert Heinlein. Los Angeles Chapter

Welcome to our newest sponsor!
Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP (

Also, thanks to our continued sponsors:
Koffler Ventures (
Deloitte & Touche (
Human Capital Group (
Two Roads Professional Resources (

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All contents Copyright(c)1999 by Benjamin F. Kuo. This material may not
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