Thursday, January 20, 2000

Zefer's zephyr

The gentle breeze from the west was not so gentle and brought a considerable amount of snow with it, but that didn't stop the "nouvelle vague" (new wave of new media/new technology) from being out in vogue. My first stop on Thursday night, January 20, was at Zefer Corporation's New York office opening at 622 Broadway. Harkening back to the early days of 'Net parties, we were redirected to walk around the corner, past the super-bubbles taxi-stand car wash to the back entrance on Crosby Street. Ah yes, the four-story steep vertical climb brought back memories of SonicNet's bashes with basketball courts and six-foot longs.

No six-foot longs here, other than the tall lanky men strolling about. Lavish buffets were set out with full-scale service from traditional Kimono-clad Japanese women serving sushi, to three vats of fresh pasta with sauces (tortellini, penne, rigatoni) to a trio of crepes (chicken & broccoli, Italian sausage and mushroom, bananas foster). Chocolate covered strawberries and tiered dessert stands tempted partiers from opposite ends of the football-field sized loft space (okay, maybe half a football field).

Old movies flickered on the as guests milled back and forth, scanning the room for friends. I ran into a few--Alex Bergmann of Creative Good, Paul Lightfoot of Foodline and Grag Matuskiewicz of Arly Kjellstad of Sony Music New Technology Ventures told me about his upcoming trips to London, and Panni Morshedi of 1ClickCharge invited me to stop by her company party later that evening. Brian Smiga has just left 1ClickCharge to start up Deliverex. Now, after a week's wait (he told me this news at Catherine Winchester's birthday party last week), we can print it!

Philip Canfield of GTCR, in a sharp wool pinstripe suit, explained that he was the private equity firm that backed Bill Seibel as he started Zefer. Canfield now serves as a member of the board. On my way to interviewing Bill about his dynamic young company, I met Gerry Dube and Sean Mullaney of Zefer. My interview with Bill was short and sweet, but I learned how the New York office, their 5th satellite office, has hired 50 employees in four months. Things are happening quickly. We didn't go much further because Zefer is now in its quiet period -- yes, they are going public soon too.