Thursday, June 10, 1999

Primary Knowledge (& Hot Tips)

Since there are so many basement to boardroom stories of successful startups in this industry, it's only appropriate that one of Silicon Alley's newest companies, Primary Knowledge, began literally in a basement. Their launch party was set (in the basement) on 30th Street on Thursday, June 10th. Outside in the bamboo-stalk-encircled garden, the four founding partners--Peter Adams, formerly VP strategic planning, Modem Media.Poppe Tyson; David Sabel, a 13-year information resources veteran; Matt Grosso, previously senior architect for Reuters; and Sherry Szydlik, former GM of Poppe Tyson--drew a colorful crowd of investors and supporters. Matthew Debnar and David Sturman of MaMaMedia told me all about "Fillus," the company's new cappuccino maker. Not a second after installation, MaMaMedia stickers plastered the much-loved addition to the tightly-packed office.  Complete with a phone jack in the back, Fillus will soon have stats about itself on the web (temperature, who's making what with it at any given moment, and probably a Fillus-Web cam). John Nives was talking with Primary Knowoledge's first employee, Chief Architect Alexandre Medouni. George Russell of (parent company is E-commerce Solutions Inc.) introduced me to the company's chivalrous CTO Gus Spathis and Phil Gunn of Growth Capital Partner, Inc. The sparkling-blue-eyed Kevin Clark (KMC Holdings) is on the Board of Directors for PK as are Bob Dorf (Peppers & Rogers) and David Carlick (Vantage Point Venture Partners). John Young (DDB Digital) and Craig Marr (US Interactive) were enjoying the garden. Sherry introduced Larry Pearl (e-com advisors) and I to the much-written about (NY Times Styles section, Industry Standard) Jon Gelberg, VP of On my way out I chatted with Larry Smith, founder and ex-CEO of US Interactive and now with incubator and Steve Blondy, Senior VP, Corporate Development, Y&R who gave me a hot tip: Y&R just gave Clarant Worldwide (which just filed for its IPO) 100% of Brand Dialogue in order to be the largest shareholder (at 13.5%) in this new Internet and e-commerce services company.