Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Kathleen Spring were prepared
for the May 23, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
HealthAtoZ.com’s New Turn
When U.S. 1 Newspaper checked in with Cranbury-based
Internet company HealthAtoZ.com two years ago, the start-up, now
six years old, was confidently predicting that an IPO was in its
and was pinning that future, in large part, on E-commerce.
The big news about HealthAtoZ.com today is that it is still alive
— a major accomplishment for any Internet company, and has turned
its ship around, heading away from the instant riches of an IPO and
crafting a business plan to bring it to the kind of respectable
for which six-year-old companies strived before the dizzying Internet
"We have changed our business model radically," says Vivian
Sudhalter, director of marketing. E-commerce is pretty much out,
although the company’s consumer website, healthAtoZ.com, does have
a partnership with a vitamin E-tailer.
Selling over the Internet, once embraced as a cost-efficient
that would revolutionize the way the world bought its goods, turned
out to be far more difficult than it appeared. Just last week, E-toys,
one of the most promising E-tailers, announced that it had sold one
of its last assets, its name. A northern New Jersey Internet company,
Vitaminshoppe.com, folded itself back into its parent, a
retailer, earlier in the year. So it has gone for Internet commerce,
with even the hugely popular Amazon.com, with enormous name
still falling short of profitability.
Rather than doing significant marketing through its two websites —
healthAtoZ.com for consumers and MedConnect.com for physicians —
HealthAtoZ.com is building revenue elsewhere. "We license
tools that help other companies enhance their websites," says
Sudhalter. Customers include HMOs, employer groups, pharmaceuticals,
hospitals, and integrated health delivery networks.
Typically, customers have websites, but want to add features to them,
Sudhalter says. Popular licensed products are search engines and
The diaries are keyed to specific diseases and conditions, including
asthma, diabetes, and pregnancy, and allow Internet visitors to enter
data on their diets, exercise regimes, and symptoms, and see charts
that demonstrate the effects of the interaction of these elements.
In addition to these tools, HealthAtoZ.com licenses health-related
content its writers produce in-house.
"We began as a health portal," Sudhalter says. "Now our
website is a living laboratory for tools that we license."
Future growth will not come from huge infusions of cash from
or from an IPO either, Sudhalter says, but rather from a licensing
fees from clients. At age six, HealthAtoZ.com is practically geriatric
in Internet time. The reason the company is still moving ahead?
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Corporate Center, Suite T1, Cranbury 08512. Raj Lakhanpal MD FACEP,
president. 609-409-8200; fax, 609-409-8130. Home page:
After years of toiling in virtual back offices,
eCom can now do front-end work. The company that started out doing
electronic payment processing for bank clients has bought Intuit’s
electronic billing and payment service. Last week, to celebrate the
acquisition of the Quicken Bill Manager program, Princeton eCom threw
a party at the Doral Forrestal, complete with balloons and confetti,
for 350 employees.
With this deal comes $5 million in cash from Intuit. In return, Intuit
will own 20 percent of Princeton eCom. In California, 25 Quicken
are being invited to leave Intuit and work for Princeton eCom in a
Billing Concepts, an original investor, currently owns 42 percent
of the company. With 40,000 square feet at 650 College Road, Princeton
eCom has 400 employees, 65 client billing companies and 1,000 banks.
Princeton eCom had revenues last year of $13 million and predicts
its "breakeven" point will come in 12 to 15 months.
Among Princeton eCom’s primary products is the payment processing
service for banks. "If you have a bank-at-home feature, we provide
the payment services," says Tom Healey, director of corporate
communications (Holy Cross, Class of 1976). "If a company is
payments electronically, we send electronic payment. If not, we
a printed check and send a check in the mail."
Through Quicken, Princeton eCom now offers an electronic bill
service, so consumer clients can see the bills online. The market
for electronic bill presenting and paying is huge, but the number
of people actually opting for this service is still very small.
Princeton eCom can claim second place in number of bills paid
An Atlanta-based electronic payment firm, Check Free, remains first.
But when it comes to scanning paper bills to present them online,
Paytrust can claim first place. Based at Quakerbridge Executive
Paytrust (Secure Commerce Services) was founded by Ed McLaughlin and
Flint Lane. Its consumer clients pay to have all their bills presented
and paid online, and Princeton eCom is one of its bill service
"If you talk about complete bill management — the number of
bills paid and presented online — we are the largest," says
Anil Singh, spokesperson for Paytrust.
Princeton eCom started out in 1984 as Princeton TeleCom. Founder Don
Licciardello, a Princeton University physics professor, had software
to help big banks deal with electronic payments. In 1999 he changed
the company name to fit a potential snazzy stock symbol, hired Ronald
Averett as president, and made plans to go public. Curt Welling
founder Licciardello as CEO last August. Welling was president of
SG Cowen Securities. and executive vice president of SG Americas —
both owned by Paris-based Societe General bank. Licciardello remains
as chairman of the board.
Another of Princeton eCom’s recent deals affected Trintech, which
has software developers at 5 Independence Way. Trintech is the Irish
firm that provides electronic payment software for credit cards.
this deal, we picked up an international component and have a global
presence," says Healey. "We purchased licensing rights to
sell the card processing services — including payment processing
and authentication — as a turnkey solution to card companies.
When Princeton eCom moved from Research Park to the Forrestal Center,
it had lined up Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to take it public, but
that effort got put on a back shelf. "Our IPO plans are to keep
on watching the market and keep on taking advantage of a better
says Healey. "A later IPO means we will have a larger and more
comprehensive suite of services and an identification with one of
the leading brands."
— Barbara Fox
08540. Curt Welling, CEO. 609-606-3000; fax, 609-606-3297.
As it proliferates, E-mail marketing gets more
The number of E-mail messages that the average person receives is
expected to grow by a factor of 40 in four years, predicts Jupiter
To its original mission, providing a worldwide Internet voice network,
ITXC Corp. has added various products for E-mail marketers. Its
to Talk" service, for instance, reaches those Internet users too
impatient to wait for an E-mail reply; they want to talk to someone
live right away. Push to Talk is offered on a pay-per-call basis,
so that E-mailers can add voice interaction to their banner ads,
campaigns, and websites without any capital investment.
Jeff Gaus, ITXC’s marketing vice president for E-commerce, predicts
that, "all significant Internet applications will include voice
by year end."
Some commercial clients report a 500 percent increase in
rates, the rate at which a web page viewer turns into a customer.
Doctors and other health professionals doing online learning through
MedCases, can click on a "Push to Talk" button to speak
to a pharmaceutical representative.
Another way to use this service is for charity campaigns, so that
potential donors can relay their credit card numbers to a live person.
ITXC pioneered this application for the "48 Hours Against
campaign in France. Companies that want to support this effort can
cut and paste HTML code to add "Click to Give" buttons to
their own websites.
Located at 600 College Road, ITXC plans a move to 30,000 square feet
at 750 College Road late this summer. Worldwide it has nearly 400
employees, nearly 300 here.
ITXC.net, the largest global network for voice on the Internet, has
466 points of presence in more than 263 cities and 96 countries. The
network has carried more than 1.5 billion minutes of use since it
was started in 1998. ITXC’s BestValue Routing technology assures
carrier-grade call quality by routing calls around the Internet
that degrades voice quality.
In addition to web merchants seeking the Push to Talk product, the
network’s customers include major traditional carriers and resellers
who achieve lower costs for phone-to-phone calls while maintaining
carrier quality, and Internet-based Web-to-phone providers and voice
"Voice on the Internet is the first major Internet application
that benefits people who don’t have or aren’t using computers,"
says Tom Evslin, founder and chairman. When telecom companies take
advantage of ITXC’s "BestValue Routing" opportunity, the
is good, and neither caller nor recipient is aware of the change.
ITXC set a record for one of the most traditional uses for the
to "call home," on Mother’s Day. It carried more than 5.7
million minutes of phone to phone traffic on Sunday, May 13, an
company record for a single day and a 250 percent increase over last
year. Perhaps more amazing is that most of those who talked that day
did not know they were making an Internet call.
600 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Tom Evslin, CEO. 609-419-1500;
fax, 609-419-1511. Home page: www.itxc.com
Paper to Digital
Root Technologies is quietly plugging away at an
Internet-based business with an elegant twist: it converts paper
to electronic forms with special expertise.
"We have technical edges over our competitors, because we write
our own software," says Thomas D. Johnson, the president and
manager. His competitors use off-the-shelf software, including Acrobat
and DJVU. "But when it can’t do what they are looking for, they
Ordinary digital copying has become a commodity, but scientific
require specialized treatment of photographs and colors. "There
are many tradeoffs involved in file size and quality," says
One of his major projects was a 10 CD set of journals for the
Society, dating back to 1929.
The son of an optical engineer, Johnson went to Kean College, Class
of 1980, and the Stevens Institute of Technology. He worked for
before founding Root Technologies in 1987 as a computer consulting
firm. He has seven other employees, including one of his three
Gary. "Our goal is to look for the right kinds of projects and
focus on what we do well — what is fun and interesting," says
08540. Thomas D. Johnson, project manager. 609-430-1320; fax,
Home page: www.roottech.com
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.