Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Wireless on the web and in a coke machine

Wireless on the Web was the topic of discussion between a trio of CEOs at
the 4th Wharton Private Equity Network meeting on Wednesday, April 5th, at
the University Club. Alex Laats of iPacer, Henry Stevens, a senior
consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Telecom Consulting Practice, and Aaron
Dobrinsky, president and CEO of GoAmerica, shared their thoughts on the way
wireless is developing and how much more advanced it is in Europe.
Coincidentally GoAmerica has the "first mover" advantage, which made their
IPO today all the more timely. While iPacer had just raised VC, Alex Laats
was still a bit shy to mention all the details of their plans. We do know
they're workign on providing and converting content into useable forms for
wireless devices. Their first phase is text to audio so people can get news
headlines over their cell phone. Henry Stevens, a European, had appropriate
and insightful comments since Europe is sevearl years ahead of us with
wireless and usage. Vik Mehta, a senior Internet analyst at Goldman Sachs
moderated with aplomb. There even were some humorous anecdotes of coke
machines and wireless capabilities. The discussion continued during
networking in the private club. Richard Lipkin, CFO of,
had positive feedback on the panel -- there was real discussion, dialogue
and information. Folks from Amir Goldman of BRM Group and Garth Feeney of
Rare Ventures and 65-70 other VCs and entrepreneurs came for the learning
and networking opportunity. Afterwards, Elliot Fishman and Amarish Mehta of
Advantage Capital gathered a group for some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at
the King Cole Bar. He was a merry old soul, and it was great to relax and
chat with a small group of people.