The folks at GeoCities are probably still popping bottles of champagne in Santa Monica to celebrate their runaway initial public offering. But could they have had even more to celebrate?

Some stock market pundits think so.

GeoCities stock opened at $17 per share on its opening day Aug. 11. The stock shot up to $37 by the close of market, and up to $45.50 the second day.

"The underwriters could have started with a higher opening price," noted one analyst. "If they had first offered shares even in the mid-$20s, the same amount of people would have bought the stock and the folks (at GeoCities) would have that many more millions in their pockets."

However, GeoCities chief David Bohnett, who is still under an SEC quiet period, shouldn't be complaining.

"The market is so volatile, underwriters have no way of really knowing how their stock offering would be received," said one local investment banker. "They would rather err on the side of caution and keep their buyers happy than watching with red faces as the value drops."

Champagne, all around.

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Is Mayor Richard Riordan looking for an image makeover?

At last week's meeting with DigitalFacades, an Internet advertising and marketing firm near Marina del Rey, Riordan learned how to make his own Web page.

With some guidance, the mayor manipulated a digitized picture of his head from the official mayoral Web page and pasted it onto the body of a buffed-out lifeguard.

"The idea is that Mayor Riordan is the lifeguard of the Digital Coast," said Steve Klinenberg, DigitalFacades' managing director. "He actually did pretty well in picking up how the software works."

Riordan and members of his L.A.'s Business Team met with the DigitalFacades staff and toured its new location near the Marina.

According to Klinenberg, the company decided to leave Santa Monica in favor of the city primarily to benefit from L.A.'s tax break for new-media companies.

If hefting a beer while chatting about the latest biotech issues sounds like an intriguing way to spend an evening, the Westwood BioBrew Group has just the event.

In an effort to breed the type of informal camaraderie and deal-making that characterizes Silicon Valley, two men involved in the local biotech industry have banded together to form the BioBrew Group.

"San Diego and the Bay Area get all the attention for biomedical investment," said group co-founder Bill Robbins, CEO of Manhattan Beach-based Convergent Ventures, a venture capital company that specializes in early stage biomed start-ups. "We're tired of L.A. being considered a desert when it comes to venture capital. We want people to get together completely informally and start building a stronger identity for the local industry."

Robbins, along with group co-founder Steven Sisskind, president of Devicelab Biomedical, met in March at the Economic Development Corp.'s Tech Venture Forum.

The BioBrew group meetings will be bimonthly, alternating with the Southern California Biomedical Council's more formal networking functions. The two groups are not affiliated, but "there are only so many of us in this community to go to events," Robbins said.

Sara Fisher can be reached via e-mail at saramf@aol.com.

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