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Crain's Chicago Business

It's a (beauty) jungle out there

September 03, 2001
By Julie Johnsson

It's a (beauty) jungle out there: Ken Gaebler is finding life after Divine Inc. to be divine indeed. He sold his first company, Vream, to Platinum Technology Inc. in 1996, then founded, and later folded, Inc., after raising $18 million from Chicago's Divine, an incubator-turned-software firm.

These days, Mr. Gaebler is doing some incubation of his own. This month, he launches three companies: Astute Diligence, which performs due diligence for private-equity firms; Grand Roads Executive Search, a headhunter, and Walker Sands Communications, a marketing and public relations outfit.

It's no coincidence that these businesses are decidedly less glamorous than the edgy online beauty market that BeautyJungle sought to create. Mr. Gaebler says that this time around, he's creating “bootstrapping” companies whose sales will sustain growth. BeautyJungle attempted to become an Internet hit by mixing a dose of venture capital with mass marketing. “I've learned not to chase those formulas,” Mr. Gaebler adds, “but to create something of value.”

© 2001 by Crain Communications Inc.

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