Wednesday, March 03, 1999

Wit Capital Witty Cocktails

Speaking of loft-parties, Wit Capital has expanded vertically once again, and this time literally. Taking over the 7th floor of 826 Broadway, this hot beer-turned-financial firm has grown not only in services but in space. Imagine being in a huge floor-through loft space with a blend of musical influences pumping through the speakers, two small bars, tables set up with cheese and crackers, and a sea of dark blue and black, pin-striped suits. Imagine a sea of such-clad men, mostly gray-haired, measuring about my height. Imagine Bob Lessin being the center of a ring of investors. Well, that's not too hard to imagine. What's even less hard to imagine is him and Andrew Klein being surrounded by 20-year-olds in black jeans, sweaters, rectangle-framed glasses and slicked Hollywood styled buzz haircuts, pitching their start-ups.

Among the more seasoned Alleyers—with similar intentions—were Eugene Carr and Howard Koval. Eugene has been producing his e-mail newsletter and web site with a national arts listing calendar, CultureFinders, since 1995. Since AOL bought Moviefone-- "ticketing on-line is big business!"--Carr isn't totally unfamiliar with AOL. He started CultureFinders's with AOL's Greenhouse program. And just 10 weeks ago they launched their individual city's newsletters. Howard Koval was also there with a dual-purpose and his friend Steve Stein of Michael Beckner of Silicon Alley Reporter breezed by and said a quick hello to Steve King of Virtual Growth, to which Mr. King exclaimed "SAR 99 was THE BEST thing we ever did!" Well, alright! Mr. Style-meister Beckner, appropriately deemed, beamed on his way. Zoe Adlersberg, director of marketing at WitCapital, was a willowy and gracious as hostess in a slinky black dress with side cutouts and styled pig-tails.

Headhunter Susan Goldberg and Jane Portnoy, director of B2B & new media at CMA, both hung around me for a while. But I shortly realized it was to attain the attentions of Mr. Chip Austin of Chip had more than a few interesting quips that he shared with me about friends he and Mr. Lessin have in common.

And where will Mr. Austin be jetting off to next week? Why to the AlleyCat News Alley To Valley '99 Conference in San Francisco next week. His interest isn't totally unprejudiced, however. He's going to support his friend Greg Arnold, CEO of Passlogix (, who was selected to represent his company. Arnold will be launching this password-management, service-oriented site on Monday. He also filled me in on Hart Hooten's new job promotion at Time Warner. Hooten was named general manager of CNN/Sports Illustrated Interactive. He and Cella Irvine held a soiree to celebrate the New York Theatre Workshop. They attracted such prolific guests as Eric Goldberg and other close friends.

Meanwhile, Bruce Strzelczyk and Richard Shanley of Richard A. Eisner & Co. were sporting flashy ties and rubbing elbows with the guests. Andrew Klein, one of the ol' King Cole's of the crowd, was appropriately merry and looking dapper as ever. Andrew Raisej and Sarah Holloway of MOUSE, Cecilia Pagkalinawan
of BoutiqueY3K and Dennis Adam of Vision Consulting were also looking sharp. @NY associate editor Pamela Parker was also buzzing around, and we shared a few laughs over the frenetic pace of these past few weeks. Randy Whitestone and Brooke McDonald of Bloomberg were also out and about, enjoying the evening, along with the other hundred or so guests.