U.S. embassies and consulates get about 50,000 calls a year from people trying to contact American travelers in Western Europe. Alan Wissenberg saw a business opportunity in helping messages get through. So he started EurAide Inc., with offices in Naperville, Ill., and in Munich's main train station. For $59 per six-month season, EurAide members traveling in Europe can call the Munich office to pick up or send messages, or to get travel help from the multilingual staff.
Production lines can make many faulty products before anyone realizes a problem exists. But Monitoring Technology Corp., of Falls Church, Va., is developing a "stethoscope" to detect problems by analyzing machine sounds and comparing them mathematically with the sounds made by a properly working machine. The company plans to sell to plants that use lathes, grinders, and drills and that need to improve quality control and cut costs to remain competitive.
Brett Stern wants garment companies to toss out their needles and thread -- a move that might enable them to reduce labor costs and remain competitive against foreign producers. Symagery Productions Inc., of New York City, is developing machines that mold fabric into three-dimensional shapes at high temperatures, then bond pieces together with high-frequency sound waves.The process would take 30 seconds and work only with knits that are at least 50% synthetic.
Small businesses that need specialized software often can't find it because retail space is limited. But now TeleWare Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., software distributor, has taken the shelves out of selling software. Abbreviated trial copies of programs are available in stores that have telephone hookups to the TeleWare database. Customers who like the trial copy can buy the real thing by overnight mail.
Talk about vertical integration: Michael Kelly is bringing it to the Wedding business. Honeymoon Village Inc., of Las Vegas, houses four chapels, a reception hall, portrait studios, showers, and changing rooms.The company rents out tuxedos and wedding gowns, provides free limousines, and is even building a 63-suite honeymoon hotel -- with heart-shaped hot tubs, of course.