Re: Crossing Questions with Answers (ideaLab!)

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 5 Jun 1997 11:28:18 -0400 (EDT)

> PS. also a profile from yesterday's WSJ

[Sorry -forgot to paste it]

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

ideaMarket Austin, Texas; Employees: 20; Founded: December 1996; Major
Investors: ideaLab!

Four years ago, several business brainstorms came to entreprenuer Bill
Gross as he reclined on a Hawaiian beach. Some weren't useful to his
software company, but there was no easy way to market them to anyone

A start-up called ideaMarket plans to fix that, creating a kind of
idea exchange that will sell pay-per-view information on the
Internet. The company, funded by ideaLab!, Mr. Gross's Pasadena,
Calif., company, plans to sell articles, book excerpts, sheet music,
software and other intellectual property through its Web site at
prices from $1 to $500 each.

It's no slam dunk. Big-name publishers have tried and failed to get
Web readers to pay subscription fees. But Mr. Gross argues that
specific, practical information will get people to pull out their
credit cards. A Silicon Valley lawyer's treatise on how to incorporate
start-ups could fetch $200, he reckons. An article on employee
stock-ownership plans might be worth $10, while a recipe from a great
chef could go for $1.

Great content is essential, so Mr. Gross recruited computer-publishing
veteran Jim Seymour as CEO and former New York Times reporter Peter
Lewis to fill ideaMarket's repository. They expect to have tens of
thousands of articles by the September kickoff, and ultimately
millions. "IdeaMarket will be the world's biggest and most important
source of intellectual property," Mr. Seymour predicts.

It's a bit like a consignment store. Instead of paying upfront,
Mr. Lewis is wooing publishers and individual authors with royalties
of 25% to 50% each time access to a piece is sold.