News Cellar - Startup / Entrepreneurship

Startup lessons from Bill Me Later's success

Posted by Gus Sentementes / at 3:27 PM

(December 4, 2009) Today I attended a talk given by Mark Lavelle, one of the four co-founders of Bill Me Later -- a Baltimore area online payments company that was snapped up by eBay/Paypal for $945 million last year. (Yes, that would be almost one billion dollars.)

He was speaking to a group of ambitious entrepreneurs at the Emerging Technology Center in Canton, sharing some nuggets of wisdom about his company's startup experience, growth and eventual big payoff-sale. He and the three cofounders were in the banking business but left it to start their own company in the 1990s. They each had different skill sets, but knew they wanted to do something that involved online transactions, because of a lucrative potential market. Launching in 2000, their first office space was in the Renaissance Harborplace hotel in downtown Baltimore.

Here are some of the "lessons learned" by Bill Me Later, according to Lavelle, who is VP of business development:

Sound Bytes - Random Sound Bytes
33% of European advertisers to have social networking presence - 10.30.2007 [more]
Personal Growth - Psychology

Top Ten Psychology Studies

Just because a study is old doesn't mean it's irrelevant. Indeed, the effects of many older studies are still being felt in psychology today. Generations of psychology students have wandered out of lectures, seeing themselves and other people in a new light. So, in this series of posts I will take a look at ten studies that have changed psychology and the way we see humanity. UPDATE: Now all the nominations are in, it's time for you to vote for your favourite (below). Which one most captures your imagination?

Personal Growth - Psychology

Why people believe weird things about money

Evolution accounts for a lot of our strange ideas about finances.
By Michael Shermer / LA Times
January 13, 2008

Would you rather earn $50,000 a year while other people make $25,000, or would you rather earn $100,000 a year while other people get $250,000? Assume for the moment that prices of goods and services will stay the same.

Surprisingly -- stunningly, in fact -- research shows that the majority of people select the first option; they would rather make twice as much as others even if that meant earning half as much as they could otherwise have. How irrational is that?

This result is one among thousands of experiments in behavioral economics, neuroeconomics and evolutionary economics conclusively demonstrating that we are every bit as irrational when it comes to money as we are in most other aspects of our lives. In this case, relative social ranking trumps absolute financial status. Here's a related thought experiment. Would you rather be A or B?

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