Name: Stanley Adelman Number of companies founded: Four Why the big appetite: Potential for new products
There are entrepreneurs who thrive on risk and bet gobs of capital on start-ups, and then there is Stan Adelman. He prefers to start small and secure. His first venture, Systems Strategies, which he launched in 1976 with $10,000, was a computer consulting company. "You need very little investment capital," says Adelman, 56. "You just go out there and sell services." He sold enough services that Systems Strategies made the Inc. 500 three times in the early 1980s.
Thanks to work that his company performed for Citibank, Adelman turned into a serial entrepreneur. When he developed a computerized system for a bank to handle its securities trading, he realized that other companies might need the same sort of hardware. In 1980 he created a second company, Systems Strategies Equipment Corp., to exploit the idea commercially. A software start-up followed in 1982. "A very safe model," Adelman says, describing his start-up strategy. "Someone paid us a lot of money and essentially told us what the market required, and we went out and built it."
In the mid-1980s, Adelman sold all three companies, two of which eventually became part of NYNEX Corp. Adelman worked for the Baby Bell until 1994, when he founded a new consulting company, Aegis Software (#104 on the 2000 Inc. 500), based in New York City.
Now, following his old model, Adelman has adapted a product (a Web-based securities trading system) that he developed for a client and plans to market it next year through a yet-to-be-created company.