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ARCHIVED  June 18, 1999

Loveland Internet startup eyes IPO

LOVELAND — A nascent Internet company in Loveland soon could become Northern Colorado’s newest public company.

Mapofevents.com, a Web site devoted to posting worldwide events and auctions of any kind, is exploring an initial public offering.

The company was founded by Marty Bonser, who three months ago closed her 7-year-old antique business in Loveland, and putting her love of the past on hold, boldly ventured into the future.

“I decided to start a Web site, and it went crazy,” she explained.

After only a year in development and a few months of life on the World Wide Web, Bonser’s Mapofevents.com is attracting hundreds of hits a day, advertisers are signing on in ever-increasing numbers and Bonser is readying for the big step: going public.

“It costs thousands and thousands of dollars to do [something like this],” she said. “I actually borrowed some of the money. What’s coming in right now is going towards what went into it, but eventually down the road, it should be making $15,000 to $20,000 a month.

“We’ve got a million shares going out,” she added. “We trademarked everything.”

Bonser’s attorney’s have thus far orchestrated the company’s steps towards a public offering, and are waiting out the initial 90 days of business as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suggests for Internet-based companies seeking an IPO, she said.

Bonser has not yet decided where or how the one million shares of stock in the company will be traded.

Mapofevents.com allows users to search by type of event or auction, and select a window of dates to be queried.

While other Internet-based event-tracking systems tend to focus on specific regions or types of events, Bonser intends to continually update and expand Mapofevents.com; her vision is of a one-stop site for finding any event, anywhere in the world. The types of events posted range from antique shows to rodeos to truck pulls, reunions, weddings and flea markets.

“I can add categories at any time. I already have the database built as big as it can be built before I have to go to the biggest server available. There are so many different categories. The more I got into it, the more people responded,” she said.

Tom Beggs, president of Resource Technology Inc., an Internet and Web-development services company based in Vancouver, Wash., designed the Web site for Bonser.

“From what I’ve seen, there are several sites that are like E-Bay, auction sites, etc., but in terms of an information source for both the vendor and participant, I haven’t found anything like [Mapofevents.com],” he said. “I think her idea is pretty unique still and a very good one.”

But even if the concept behind Mapofevents.com is unique, the idea of launching a public offering for a wholly Internet-based company is not.

“It’s absolutely not unheard of,” Beggs said. “Many companies are formulated just for that purpose.”

But some analysts might want to see more of a longer track record before an Internet startup goes public.

“It’s very unusual to find something that’s only been on the Internet for a few months that launches an IPO,” reported Internet analyst Stefan Smith of DataQuest, an Internet research firm based in San Jose. “The free-wheeling days for Internet start-ups are coming to an end; the SEC is going to be a little more picky. What they’re doing is limiting the number of companies that they’ll allow to make an IPO every month because it was getting out of control.”

The site has drawn interest from show promoters locally.

“I heard about it through some friends,´ said Rick Anacleto, a show promoter and trader based in Northern Colorado. “I’ve used it two or three times, and it’s progressively gotten a lot better. It’s pretty economical for what advertising costs these days.”

The cost for posting event information on Mapofevents.com is currently $4.95 a month; not-for-profit events can advertise on the site free of charge, Bonser reported.

“Anybody from anywhere can put it on there.” One of the resource’s biggest advantages is its accessibility, she explained. “That’s why they liked it. This way it’s a lot easier for people planning trips, and it’s better for promoters because shows aren’t on top of each other.”

Bonser is currently in the process of hiring some people to help her with data entry — a rapidly ballooning side of the business. “I’m trying to get a lot more local people involved who are doing any type of the 15 option categories, and 35 show event categories,” she added.

“It’s been an experience going from antiques to the computer world,” Bonser concluded. “People don’t realize that with all the stuff out there, it’s a big challenge. It took eight different companies to get a big thing like this going and a year to get it off the ground.”

When asked if he would invest in Mapofevents.com if it were to issue a public offering, Anacleto responded: “Yes, I would definitely consider it. It may not be as hot as E-bay, but in the future it could definitely have a chance of being up there with the best.”

LOVELAND — A nascent Internet company in Loveland soon could become Northern Colorado’s newest public company.

Mapofevents.com, a Web site devoted to posting worldwide events and auctions of any kind, is exploring an initial public offering.

The company was founded by Marty Bonser, who three months ago closed her 7-year-old antique business in Loveland, and putting her love of the past on hold, boldly ventured into the future.

“I decided to start a Web site, and it went crazy,” she explained.

After only a year in development and a few months of life on the World Wide Web, Bonser’s Mapofevents.com is attracting hundreds of…

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