Andrew Stern, 26, President of Logex International
In May, Logex was acquired by a Bethesda, Md.-based roll-up called AppNet Systems, which plans to become a force in the Internet-based e-commerce applications and service market. Stern is tight-lipped about the valuation he got for his 11-person company, but he says it was well worth it. "This way we can be a small player and still compete," he says. "Things are heating up so fast in this market."
The fast-growing e-commerce niche prompted Stern to leave Olympus Group (headed up by fellow under-30 entrepreneur Julie Holdren) and strike out on his own. Once he did, the first task involved a lot of manual labor to convert a barn on his parents' property in Potomac, Md., into office space. "We figured if all else failed, at least we could become contractors," he says.
The next step was to thoroughly research the market and start selling turnkey electronic commerce packages to retailers and catalog companies. The problem? They hadn't developed any yet. "It was all smoke and mirrors," Stern says.
A contract with Ingram Books in Nashville, Tenn., brought in the company's first big client and led to a number of others including the Cigar Depot, Back to Basics Toys and the financially troubled Crown Books. It also helped catch the eye of AppNet.
Stern, who has successfully hired experienced e-commerce talent from Dulles, Va.-based America Online and CyberCash of Reston, Va., predicts that Logex will do between $1.5 and $2 million in sales this year. "It's either really conservative or really aggressive depending on how you look at it," he says.
The company will soon move into more traditional offices in Falls Church, Va., trading the rustic, converted barn for credibility. Its focus will continue to be building business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce sites including online catalogs. Meanwhile, AppNet, which also acquired Arbor Intelligent Systems of Ann Arbor, Mich., has plans to continue on an expansion track and grow its revenues to $30 million by the end of 1998.
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