How much money is a group of eight letters and numbers worth? Apparently $1 million, when they are

Idealab, the Pasadena incubator of high-tech companies, sold the Internet domain name to a London company for $1 million in cash and equity last week. The buyer, a firm called Media Ltd., owns price comparison sites and

About $200,000 of the purchase price was in cash. The remaining $800,000 was in equity, giving Idealab a 7 percent stake in the company. Bill Gross, chief executive of Idealab, will also join Media’s advisory board.

Idealab acquired the domain name in May 1998. An Idealab spokeswoman declined to reveal how much was paid, but said it was “substantially less” than $1 million. She added that Idealab has no specific plans for the cash.

Idealab owns about 1,000 domain names, presumably related to companies its executives have started or could start in the future.

The $1 million price tag may sound hefty for an Internet address. But in-demand domain names routinely sell for millions of dollars. Earlier this year, sold for $1 million in cash, said Andrew Allemann, editor of domain industry Web site

Last year’s biggest domain name sale was, which was bought by Toys “R” Us for $5.1 million. That sale also had a connection to Idealab: The company that originally owned was an Idealab spinoff called eToys. EToys went bankrupt in the dot-com crash and was sold to KB Toys.

Launching Companies

Launchpad L.A., a mentoring group designed to help executives at startup firms is accepting applications for its second class of entrepreneurs.

Founded last year by Mark Suster at Century City venture capital firm GRP Partners, Launchpad is looking for 10 budding entrepreneurs who want to mingle with experienced executives and venture capitalists in Los Angeles. The group only accepts applications from companies that are based in Los Angeles County or those that plan to move to Los Angeles. Applicants won’t be considered if they have raised more than $1 million in funding, or any money from a venture capital firm.

The 10 entrepreneurs who are selected for Launchpad will be able to tap 30 to 40 mentors for guidance. The mentors will include top executives at prominent local tech companies, such as Matt Coffin, founder of, and Adam Bain, a president at Fox Interactive Media.

Launchpad will also organize seminars for the 10 that will cover raising venture capital, building an executive team and fostering relationships with corporate clients, among other topics.


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