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CLASS OF ’85

He Puts the I in Information

When Stuart Siegel W’85 graduated from the Wharton School, he recalls, “My desire was to be a real-estate tycoon.” Fifteen years later, it looks like he’ll have to settle for standing at the helm of one of the fastest growing technology companies in the country. Siegel is president and CEO of iPlace, a leading provider of “personally relevant” consumer information on the Internet (iPlace.com). If you’ve ever gone online to check out home values in your neighborhood or to order your credit report, chances are you were using one of the 50,000 affiliate Web sites which offer his company’s services.

    iPlace, which brought in $23.6 million in revenues last fiscal year, was recognized last fall as a “Rising Star” by Deloitte & Touche’s Technology Fast 50 Program, and Siegel himself was named CEO of the year (in the under-40 category) by the Eastern Technology Council. “We’ve built a great team of people who are very motivated and very absorbed in the cause and the mission,” he says. “I came up with the concept originally and developed it, but there are 200-odd people executing it, making it happen every day.” (One of them is David Meyer EAS/W’91, iPlace’s chief technology officer, who also happens to be Siegel’s brother-in-law.)
   
After expanding its Bristol, Pa., office four times, Siegel moved his company’s headquarters last fall to nearby Oxford Valley. Satellite offices are in Orange County and San Francisco, Calif.
   
Siegel’s first job out of college was in real estate finance on Wall Street. Two years later, he was recruited to serve as director of marketing for The Getko Group, a company that provided welcome packages to new homeowners to introduce them to local businesses. Siegel expanded it from a northeastern to national presence, and rose in the company ranks to become CEO. The company grew from about $7 million in revenue, when Siegel joined, to $52 million. In 1995 Getko was bought by Cendant in a transaction valued at about $110 million. Siegel became CEO of its lifestyle-marketing division. After about a year, he says, “my entrepreneurial juices started flowing.”
   
He came up with eNeighborhoods, which offered consumers details about local schools, crime rates and housing values—“sort of everything a buyer of a home would ask about a community.” Real-estate companies provided the tool to their customers and paid Siegel’s company a subscription fee. iPlace then grew out of the merger of eNeighborhoods with ConsumerInfo.com and acquisition of QSpace. It reports some five million unique visitors to its sites each month.
   
iPlace has yet to post a profit. “We could be profitable tomorrow,” Siegel says. “We just wouldn’t grow as quickly.” Eventually, he says, “we hope to create value for the company through an IPO. [But only] if it makes sense for the company.”
   
In his spare time, Siegel sponsors a Good Neighbor Awards program with the National Association of Realtors, encouraging its 750,000 members to do volunteer work.


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Copyright 2001 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 1/2/01


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