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The Proposal

Dotcom Divas
E-business Insights from the Visionary Women Founders of 20 Net Ventures


Just a few years ago, the web was a virtual boys club. Only 18 percent of net surfers were women in 1996. But gender demographics in the cyberworld have changed fast: women now make up 50 percent of the online population. A study by International Data Corporation predicts that by the end of 1999, women on the web could even outnumber men.

Along with this quick rise in the virtual tide of women web surfers, the number of women-founded businesses--including web ventures--is burgeoning. In the first quarter of 1999, the number of women-founded businesses topped nine million. This represents 38 percent of all businesses and more than double the number of women-owned businesses that existed in 1987. Of these, 30 percent, or 3.4 million were in the technology sector.

The proliferation of woman-founded web businesses is especially impressive considering that women receive far less of the venture capital pie than men: only 2 percent of the $16 billion invested by venture capital funds in 1998 went to women-owned firms.

These two converging trends--rapid growth in the number of women web users and in woman-founded ventures--are creating wide-open opportunities for women Internet entrepreneurs. The Net’s openness to nontraditional business models and new ways of working is fostering a business environment in which women entrepreneurs are thriving.


Despite the flurry of activity and growth in this area, there are no books that profile women Internet entrepreneurs. Dotcom Divas will fill this void and be the first book to focus on women founders of Net ventures. It's written in an approachable, upbeat style. Each of the 20 chapters profiles a thriving Net business and its founder or co-founder. The book demonstrates the variety and success of women Internet entrepreneurs, inspiring and empowering readers to form their own businesses, work for cutting-edge technology companies, or just think more like entrepreneurs in their chosen fields.


The women’s e-ventures fall into four overlapping categories: web technology, e-commerce sites, media/portal/destination sites, and web-based services. Web design, web consulting, and hardware firms are not included.

The profiles are based on information gathered through a questionnaire and in-depth phone and in-person interviews conducted by the author and an assistant. Additional information was obtained through supplementary research.

The main text incorporates quotes from the founders of the profiled companies and vital statistics about each business. To add visual interest, each chapter includes a photo of the e-venture’s woman founder or co-founder, a punchy pull-quote from the founder, a box containing the top three lessons the founder learned from her web startup experience, and key strategic take-aways.

The finished manuscript is 300 pages, including an introduction and back matter. The introduction provides background information about trends in e-business and the increase in the number of women in technology and women entrepreneurs. The back matter consists of a resource section for Internet entrepreneurs that includes a list of books, magazines, websites, and organizations, as well as resources specifically for women.

Markets for the Book

Dotcom Divas is exceptionally timely. The Internet has enabled unprecedented entrepreneurship. Stories abound about both mom-and-pop and venture-backed operations opening up for business on the web and exploding into thriving e-businesses whose greatest challenge is scaling operations quickly enough to keep up with their swelling customer base. The emergence and rapid growth of e-commerce since the release of the first web browser in 1993 is a sea change that is revolutionizing the business world. The rise of entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and women in technology as we enter the new millennium are key trends creating a market for this book.

Dotcom Divas will appeal to:

  • Technology entrepreneurs
  • Information technology (IT) professionals
  • Professional women in all fields
  • Anyone considering starting their own web-based business
  • Investors in technology stocks
  • Professors of business and their graduate and undergraduate students
  • College and university career centers


The author will pursue a promotion campaign for the book with the following components:

1. Promotional material distributed to the e-mail lists of professional associations including:

  • Women in Technology (WITI)
  • Women on the Web (WOW)
  • Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)
  • Webgrrls

2. Presentations based on the book. The author will create presentations based on the book and will sell autographed copies of the book after the presentations. Venues for the presentations include:

  • professional associations related to the web, Internet, and e-commerce
  • professional associations for women entrepreneurs and women in technology
  • university programs and community colleges

6. Book signings.

7. A website: The author will promote the book with a website containing information about the book, a sample profile, and a resource guide for women entrepreneurs that includes a directory of organizations, online resources, and publications.

8. Corporate sponsorship: The profiled companies themselves may want to promote the book. They could promote it by referencing it in marketing materials, press releases, and their online pressrooms. The author will send autographed copies of the book and press kits to the 20 profiled businesses.

9. The author will write spin-off articles in magazines, trade rags, and destination websites. Each article will end with an attribution that includes the url promoting the book.

10. The author will distribute a press kit along with autographed review copies of the book to professional organizations and relevant magazines, newspapers, trade rags, and websites.

Competitive and Complementary Books

Dotcom Divas will be the first book of its kind. There is not a single book on the market about woman-founded Internet businesses. The few existing books profiling Internet businesses include only a few examples of woman-led companies. While the topics of web-based businesses and e-commerce are hugely popular (Seybold’s was the number 82 bestseller at and Easton’s was number 307 at the time of this writing), a book profiling women-founded Internet ventures has yet to be published.

While there are a handful of books about women and entrepreneurship, there are none that focus on the Internet or even the technology sector. Most of the books about women and entrepreneurship are how-to guides that do not specifically profile the stories of women entrepreneurs. The only book profiling women entrepreneurs--Women's Ventures, Women's Visions by Shoshana Alexander (Crossing Press, 1997, $14.95)--does not focus on any particular industry and does not include any examples of Net entrepreneurs.

About the Author

The author of Dotcom Divas, Elizabeth Carlassare, is an Internet strategist with more than ten years of experience working at high tech companies, including Adobe, Intuit, and SGI. She's a member of the founding team of MyWebtivity, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based Internet startup, and a personal and professional coach for women in technology. She's also the creator of (to be launched), an online community for women Internet entrepreneurs. She is regularly interviewed by the press on the topic of women, technology, and entrepreneurship.

The Outline

Foreword by Patricia B. Seybold

Part I: Portal, Content, and Community Ventures
1. Astronet, Eugenie Diserio
2. AudioBasket, Kim Fisher
3., Mae Towada
4. iVillage, Candice Carpenter and Nancy Evans
5. LookSmart, Tracey Ellery
6. Third Age Media, Mary Furlong

Part II: Web-based Services Ventures
7., Katie Burke
8. EDGAR Online, Susan Strausberg
9. E-Loan, Janinina Pawlowski
10. NetCreations, Rosalind Resnick

Part III: E-commerce Ventures
11., Jessica DiLullo Herrin and Jenny Lefcourt
12., Mariam Naficy and Varsha Rao
13. oneNest, Durreen Shahnaz
14. Petopia, Andrea Reisman
15., Felicia Lindau
16. SuperVertical, Veronica Allende Serra

Part IV: E-business Applications and Web Technology Ventures
17. CoVia, Deidre Paknad
18. eCommerce Industries, Paula Jagemann
19. Marimba, Kim Polese
20. RightWorks, Vani Kola

Appendix A: Resources for Entrepreneurs
Appendix B: Net Biz Buzzwords

The 20 Ventures and Their Women Founders
| The Introduction | The Proposal

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