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Unformatted text preview: BORN TO LAUNCH The seriaI entrepreneurs of the PROFIT 100 have lots to teach about the highs and lows of starting and running a business BYJANET wHrTE BARDWELL ollowing on the heels of a wildly successful technology company h e ' d l a u n c h e d w h i l e i n u n i v e r s i t y , Brick Eksten's first full-time entree i n t o e n t r e p r e n e u r s h i p d i d n ' t t u r n o u t quite the way he'd hoped. At the ripe old age of 23 and fresh out of school, he and his partners took on an angel investor to help bring a promising flight simulator to market. "lVe were young, and he had all the right rnoves: a nice car, lots of money, dressed well and wrote us a cheque for a large sum," recalls Eksten. But shortly after the business was underwav, the as- sets of the so-called angel were seized bv I the Swiss government as part of a money- I laundering investigation. Eksten's busi- ' ness was shut down. tvvhat might have left the young en- trepreneur clamouring for a risk-free day lob only fuelled his fire. Eksten dusted himself off and got to work on a new firm-a developer of cutting-edge geo- spatial imaging software that gave users a hrst-person view of flying through Yo- semite National Park, lvlars or any other interesting landscape. It was a hit. Cus- tomers ranged from governments to land a W W V ! P R O F I T G U I D E , C O M J U N E 2 O O 7 P R O F I T 8 7 8 8 P R O F I T J U N E 2 O O 7 W W W P R O F I T G U I D E C O M del'elopers. But after a couple of vears, E,ksten found himself restless and bored, c r a v i n S t h e e x c i t e m e n t a n d v i s i o n t h a t came with the earlv years of the business. "Once n'e had created the product, my role just became about fulfilling orders r a t h e r t h a n r e a l l y b u i l d i n g s o m e t h i n g , " he says. "So, I sold off all my rights in return for a roy'altv and moved on." Now 44, Eksten has owned seven businesses, and for the past seven vears, he's been at the helnr of Markhanr, Ont.-based Digital Rapids Corp. (No. 4 on the 2007 PROITIT 100), which helps TV and film producers put video on the Web. Resilient and passionate, Eksten tvpi- fies the 62 CEOs of the 2007 PROFI'I 100 who have founded two or more compa- nies during their business careers. Where others see potential failure, they see only potential. Where manv are content run- ning the same company for decades, the.v crave new opportunities and are willing to endure the high-stakes pins and nee- dles of the startup phase. Thev get right back up aftcr failures that would leave others down for the count, and they discover tons about themselves along the way. AII business orl/ners can learnthe way....
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2010 for the course ITM ENT526 taught by Professor Wise during the Spring '10 term at Ryerson.
- Spring '10