Company Index

Between the Lines

To the Editor: Realities of Trade With Mexico

The Full Breadth Of Discrimination

Corrections or additions?

This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the March

21, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Mining the Web’s Data: Connotate

Under the leadership of Tom Pisello, Internet data

mining start up Connotate Technologies has made the leap from the

Rutgers computer science department to 3,000 square feet of office

space on George Street in New Brunswick.

Responsible for getting no fewer than four Internet companies up and

running — "sometimes two at a time" — Pisello


to being a start-up junkie. "It’s a disease," he says.

Connotate was founded by Rutgers professors Tomasz Imielinski, author

of 100 papers and two books on database mining, Donald Smith, director

of the university’s laboratory for computer science (LCSR), and Vince

Sgro, senior application programmer at LCSR.

Imielinski and Smith remain at Rutgers, while Sgro works full time

as Connotate’s chief technology officer.

One of the first spin offs to come out of Rutgers’ computer science

department, Connotate is built on technology that allows users to

tag any website, use keywords to "teach" the site what


it wants, and receive that information through E-mail, fax, cell


or a personal digital assistant (PDA) such as a Palm Pilot.

Last year, New York equity firm Trautman Wasserman & Company Inc.

joined Rutgers in launching Connotate as a private company. Trautman

Wasserman, which recruited Pisello to be president and CEO, provided

cash and management advice to get Connotate started. The company’s

principal owners are Rutgers, the three co-founders, and Trautman


The equity firm is recruiting other investors with the help of Dan

Conley, who is listed in the business plan as venture catalyst finder

and Oncall CFO. Connotate expects to fulfill its $2 million first

round of financing this spring, says Conley; he is taking the company

to this season’s early stage venture fairs, including the New Jersey

Technology Council fair on March 26. (see page 10).

Connotate has a website ( where consumers can

at no cost try out its service. Going to any of the 3 billion websites

now in existence, users can request, say, Little League scores in

games where one team is from West Windsor, or recall information on

products for infants, or flight delay updates for Newark Airport.

A number of other companies will send similar information to


but generally from just a small number of websites. Connotate is not

planning to derive its revenue from consumers, however, but rather

expects that it will make money by licensing this technology, which

can be used as one piece of a complete suite of functions delivered

through a cell phone or wireless device.

Connotate does have competitors, Pisello says, naming Pumatech Inc.

as one. Based in San Jose, California, Pumatech (Nasdaq: Puma)

has been around since 1993, and has evolved to take advantage of the

proliferation of wireless devices and the concurrent demand for


anytime information delivery. Connotate takes the technology one step

further, Pisello says, by sending not just alerts when new information

is posted on websites, as Pumatech’s NetMind software does, but by

sending the text itself. Connotate’s technology also is different,

he says, because it uses XML — a method for putting structured

data in a text file — which can be used in databases and in any

information device.

While consumers are free to take advantage of Connotate’s service,

the website is just a showcase for the company’s technology. "The

challenge with consumers," Pisello says, "is that it’s


to reach them, and it’s hard to monetize the relationship." In

other words consumers have shown they do not want to pay for the


they receive.

Connotate expects to find its some of its clients among companies

that are developing software platforms for use in wireless devices.

Connotate’s data mining technology could be part of a larger suite

of capabilities — maybe voice recognition, notification, content

management, and customer relationship management — that would

be bundled and sold to large companies seeking a wireless system for

delivering information to employees or clients. Other licensing


include deals with wireless carriers, Internet portals, and online

content syndicators.

The company’s technology is in beta testing with several clients,

Pisello says. They include Comstar Interactive, formerly Bell South,

a paging service that is adding Connotate’s one-way wireless


on top of its two-way service. Most of Connotate’s 10 employees

are technical people developing its products, but the company also

has a small sales force.

Pisello says he signed on with Connotate because of its technology,

but also for because it had a raw sales and marketing strategy. "I

like to build a team from the ground up. I’ve tried companies at other

stages, and I’ve tried working for someone else, but I’m spoiled,"

says Pisello, whose company launches include E-publishing software

company DigitalOwl, policy management software company Full Armor,

home decor E-tailer PuertaBella, and online cost analysis company

Interpose, which was purchased by the Gartner Group.

Another reason Pisello accepted the top spot at Connotate was his

desire to work on the East Coast. Raised on Long Island, Pisello


from the State University of New York (Class of 1986) with a degree

in electrical engineering. He now lives in Orlando with his wife Judy,

a creative director, and his 18-month-old daughter, Sophia. While

Orlando with its laid back atmosphere and warm weather is an ideal

place to live, Pisello says, it is not the place to nurture startups.

"Orlando gets less venture capital than Wyoming," he says.

Ten years ago Pisello thought technology would mean everyone could

work wherever they wanted to. Not so, it turns out. "Venture


want to invest in their own backyards," he says. It is also easier

to recruit talent here, he has found, and to network. He says the

opportunities for tech companies are four times greater in an area

like metro New York than they are in Florida.

While he came north for opportunity, Pisello, who has logged 2 million

miles with Delta, has not pulled up his Florida roots. He commutes

home every Friday, and plans to keep right on making the 2,000 mile

roundtrip commute for another four to five years or so. His father,

who sells commodity paper for Websource, is semi-retired, but also

commutes from Florida to New York on a part-time basis. "Sometimes

we travel together," Pisello says.

The New Jersey/Florida commute is far from all bad, Pisello says.

"When you’re doing a startup, it can be all consuming," he

says. "It can cut into weekend and family time." Now he


on work 100 percent during the week, and leaves it behind on weekends.

During the week, "technology keeps you close," he says. He

and his wife "are E-mailing all the time." And sometimes they

even talk face-to-face during the week when Judy, who does some


for Connotate, comes north.

Much as he is enjoying marrying the challenge of work in a high tech

corridor with a Florida lifestyle, Pisello says "startups can

burn you out." He likes to work with a new company until it


about 50 employees, and then hand the reins over. He is already


of an exit strategy for Connotate. A public offering is not out of

the question, he says, but a more likely strategy is a merger with

one or more of the companies with which he is now seeking licensing


Of more concern is a threatened strike by Delta pilots. If that


"I’ll cry," says Pisello. "They’re very good to me."

— Kathleen McGinn Spring

Connotate Technologies, 303 George Street, New

Brunswick 08901. 732-296-8844; fax, 732-296-0330.

Top Of Page
Company Index

Companies listed here may be found in the current edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper, both electronically and in hard copy, with page numbers


American Arbitration Association, 4;

Buchanan Ingersoll, 8;

Cambrex Corporation, 49;

Cares Built, 10;

Cell USA, 12;

Chiragene, 49;

Clemens Construction Company, 51;

Connotate Technologies, 11;

Courtyard by Marriott, 51;, 49;

Environmental Liability Management, 50;

Eric David & Sons, 52;

Exide Technologies, 49;

ExpertPlan, 10;

FRx, 49.

Gallagher, Briody, Butler, 50;, 12;

GNB, 49;

Great Plains Software, 49;

Harbour Management of Somers Point, 7;

Helmsman Group, 49;

The Hermes Group LLP, 52;

Hydrocarbon Technologies Inc., 10;

Institute for Advanced Study, 15;

Institute of Real Estate Management, 7;, 12;

Knite.Inc., 12;

Lorman Education Services, 8;

Make Us an Offer, 12;

Mercer County College, 4;

Microsoft, 49.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority, 49;

New Jersey Technology Council, 10;

New Jersey Theatre Alliance, 6;

Nex-i-com, 12;

PanamaTech, 10;

Pennsylvania Private Investors Group, 15;

Planned Parenthood Association of the

Mercer Area, 52;

Princeton Multimedia Technologies., 10;

Progress Bank, 51;

Rutgers University, 11;

TechBanc, 51;

Vectramed Inc., 12.

Top Of Page
Between the Lines

Gods of printing plants and late winter and early spring

weather conditions willing, this Wednesday, March 21, will mark the

arrival of your weekly U.S. 1 Newspaper and your annual U.S. 1



As always this Wednesday will be free Business Directory Wednesday

wherever we hand deliver U.S. 1 — one free copy will be left at

every office visited by our deliverers. After this Wednesday, as


the directory will be available for a nominal charge ($13.95 at the

U.S. 1 office and at bookstores) and $17.95 by mail. See our coupon

on page 16 of this issue for ordering information.

Next week in this space we hope to regale you with some results from

our ongoing longitudinal study being conducted in conjunction with

the Business Directory. What categories are growing, shrinking, or

just emerging; which companies are the employment leaders; which are

not. For the time being, however, we are simply trying to climb out

of the morass of paperwork that we find ourselves in this time of

year. For us at U.S. 1, "March madness" is more than just

a basketball tournament.

Top Of Page
To the Editor: Realities of Trade With Mexico

In a Survival Guide article on March 7 your writer seems

to accept, without so much as blushing, the proposition that it is

perfectly okay for a New Jersey business to pack up and move to


You quote the director of Mercer County Community College’s Center

for Global Business: "In Mexico there is such a dramatic


in labor costs, it quickly makes financial sense to establish your

own plants . . . You pay less for a day’s work in Mexico than for

an hour’s work here."

That is perfectly true, BUT. First, what happens to the New Jersey

workers who are laid off when the plant moves? Right now, most will

get other jobs, but generally at significantly lower pay than before.

And in a severe recession? Second, what does it mean for a Mexican

worker to get $6 to $8 a day? It means living in miserable,


housing, often in neighborhoods lacking running water and sewers,

on a nutritionally inadequate diet, with minimal if any access to

medical care, and with children often doomed to poor education, poorer

health, and no future but to work in sweatshop-type factories, the

infamous maquiladora system — the system that your article seems

to accept without question.

And then there is the problem many Mexican managers and other


put at the top of their list: corruption and rampant street crime,

which of course is in large part due to the widespread poverty and

vast inequalities of income and wealth one sees everywhere. It is

these conditions that are largely responsible for Mexicans emigrating

to the United States nowadays.

The first step in changing the equation so that conditions in Mexico

improve and at the same time American workers have a shot at fair

competition would be to improve wages and conditions in Mexico


This would also lower the numbers of Mexican immigrants.

Martin Oppenheimer

Associate Professor of Sociology

Rutgers University

Top Of Page
The Full Breadth Of Discrimination

Your March 14 article, "Discrimination’s Cost"

discussed attorney John Thurman’s March 20 speech at the Worldwide

Employee Benefit Network. The article stated that "according to

New Jersey and federal law, employers can in no way discriminate based

on sex, ancestry, race, or disability. Also, genetic testing is


I looked at the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as quoted here:

Title 10 Civil Rights 10:5-3. Finding, declarations 3. "The


finds and declares that practices of discrimination against any of

its inhabitants, because of race, creed, color, national origin,


age, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status, familial

status, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United


or nationality . . ."

I find that your writer omitted the following: creed, color, national

origin, age, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status,


status, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United


and nationality. Disability and genetic testing are handled elsewhere.

Your writer may consider the three (or four or five) areas mentioned

as the most important, but the legislature added the omitted areas

because people who belonged to those groups were being discriminated


I hope you understand that by omitting these areas, you are minimizing

the importance of the discrimination those people have experienced.

Also, when you review the discrimination laws, don’t make the mistake

that other writers and attorneys frequently make by stating that the

federal government and all state governments have laws prohibiting

discrimination based on sexual or affectional orientation. In fact,

New Jersey is in the minority in having a law against such


I am sure Mr. Thurman’s speech will go into all necessary detail and

not omit important areas.

Bill Glazener

White House Station

The letter writer correctly assumes that all the protected

classes were covered in the interview and at the Thurman lecture.

Space did not permit the inclusion of all of them in the article.

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