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On the Prowl: After Revolutionizing B2B Commerce, FreeMarkets' Glen Meakem Shakes up the Traditional World of Publishing.

PITTSBURGH -- After spearheading the B2B online revolution, launching the fourth most successful IPO in the history of the NASDAQ stock market, and selling his firm for $500 million, Glen Meakem is on the prowl. Now, the former Founder of FreeMarkets is taking on a new industry, and he's doing it with the help of some recent college grads.

As part of his next move, Meakem has invested $500,000 in College Prowler, a publisher of college insider guides. In addition to the investment, Meakem will also serve as Chairman in a hands-on role that will provide not just financing, but seasoned entrepreneurial insight and sales and marketing expertise.

If FreeMarkets was business to business, College Prowler is student to student. Co-founded by 24-year-old Luke Skurman during his undergraduate years at Carnegie Mellon University, the company originally began as a class entrepreneurship project. Today, it has student writers at over 200 campuses across the country who help survey their peers and compile a book on their school. Each school-specific, 160-page guide contains hundreds of student quotes, reviews, and grades on all aspects of campus life -- from academics, dorms, and dining, to diversity, safety, and the attractiveness of the student body. According to Meakem, "These books provide an unbelievably well-rounded and accurate sense of the culture at each school. They offer critical insight and information that students and their parents can't find anywhere else."

While the strength of the product is attractive to Meakem, so is Skurman's drive. Striking in their similarities, Skurman shares an entrepreneurial spark that inspired him to use technology to create books at untraditionally high speeds and low costs. In the last year, as College Prowler produced 200 books with virtually no capital, the company also increased revenue by 60 percent, grew web traffic by 95 percent, and created a human information network that has resulted in the most comprehensive collection of information on the nation's top universities. "We have already done so much with so little," said Skurman. "With Glen on-board, I am confident that the future will be even brighter."


College Prowler is the first college guidebook publisher to create a series of school-specific insider guides. With a total of over 30,000 pages of the most in-depth information on college, the company's 200 different guides are available for purchase at Recent media features include The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 30, 2004
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