Thursday, June 15, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Atlanta ~ by Frank Wrenn

Pubbing It at Rose & Crown

Summer is approaching, and Atlanta’s getting hotter and hotter. But if last Thursday is any indication, beautiful nights and cold beverages promise to keep the local cyber scene better than ever with lots of socializing, networking, and commiserating. EPanacea ( played host to a swarm of folks last week at trendy Buckhead’s Rose and Crown Pub. Unofficial counts from the friendly bar staff indicate that nearly 300 people were in attendance.

ePanacea, an ASP aggregator whose staff has tripled since January, was more than happy to host the event, and they plan to host more. According to CEO Matt Rosenshaft, “The key [to its success] was the relaxed atmosphere. There were no agendas or sales pitches. We just wanted to meet people like ourselves who understand the pain and joy
of being in a start-up.”

Rosenshaft added, “Most people [present] were talking about fund raising and such, but mostly seeing old friends or talking to potential new business partners. A lot of people said this was needed. Obviously, we agree and will continue to host it.”

As I made my way in the crowded pub, passing the name tag table (“they still wear those in Atlanta,” quipped a newcomer from EssEff) I was greeted by the legion of ePanacea folks (including Sheri Rosenthal, who I chatted with for a while). I headed towards Bryan Wempen, CEO of, who was conveniently located by the bar. Since his successful launch party last month, Bryan has had to add more staff to keep up with demand. Bryan introduced me to Sean O’Toole and Amy A. Loge, President and Chief Operating Officer of Easy Client Keeper, Inc (, an automatic/personalized client contact, retention and gift service. As the head honchos of a newly incorporated start-up, Sean and Amy were scoping the crowd for possible venture capital leads.

Moving a little further from the bar, I talked with Randy Berlin, President of ( who said his company’s “Atlanta-friendly service” and hi-tech/hi-touch approach to customizing telecommunications-solutions made stand out from the crowd. Our conversation was joined by Pete Franetovich, whose interesting website (, cuts out all intermediaries in the pearl buying process. Pete, who is fluent in Chinese, travels to China and personally buys pearls to sell on-line. We were then joined by Mark McKinley of PSINet (, the “Internet Super Carrier” who just opened a new 88,000 square foot global Internet hosting center in Atlanta. The $54 million facility will serve as a world class international eCommerce center for businesses in the U.S. Southeast region that wish to offer e-business applications over the Internet.

Moving outside to the patio as the evening progressed, I ran into Brian Hankin, founder and Vice President of Marketing for Screen4me Corporation ( A fairly new start-up, Screen4me promises to “change the way consumers and direct marketers interact”—allowing consumers to get rid of unwanted clutter and marketers to efficiently reach the right consumers. Brian introduced me to Rob Hutchinson, the company’s Vice President of Business Development. I, in turn, introduced him to Amy Loge of Easy Client Keeper, to discuss possible synergies.

As the event was winding down, ePanacea’s chief financial officer Forest Ralph wished me a good night as he left, but I (and a patio-full of others) stayed a bit longer to enjoy the beautiful spring night.

Local B2Cs Court Atlanta Urbanites

The race is on and it’s getting personal!  As the Atlanta B2C market for home delivery services heats up, e-marketers are increasingly taking a one-on-one approach. Which is why residents of ultra-funky Peachtree Lofts condos in Midtown were being fed snacks and beverages poolside by eager Webvan reps last Saturday.

While slapping on cocoa butter, Peachtree Lofts social chairman (and IT Director of Brad Slavens explained that dot-coms are scrambling to gain top-of-mind position with the upscale professionals flooding the in-town condo market. 

Building residents are being lured by special deals, free parties, and lots of perks.  Friday night favorite has even added a video return box to the PL lobby to make ordering from them a no-brainer.

Overjoyed or overwhelmed?  Will residents  -  many of whom spend their days thinking up these types of gimmicks for their own dot-coms – want to have their nights and weekends invaded by constant sponsorship?

For now, between cool swims and cold beverages, PL owners Angie (of and Mike (of say they’re loving the attention.

Bring it on! If you have information on Atlanta news and events, send it to me at