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A Virtual Success

A Virtual SuccessJust21 years old, Tufts graduate Paul Kafasis is already a seasonedbusinessman heading up his own lucrative software company.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.30.04] While Paul Kafasis didn't face the pressures of a job search after graduation, he wasn't relaxing much either. The co-founder of a software company while a student at Tufts, Kafasis, 21, has had his hands full for the last few years as his business venture quickly transformed from an idea to reality.

"The company grew a lot my last year of college," Kafasis - who balanced his professional work with a full course load and several on-campus technology support jobs while an undergraduate at Tufts - told The Cranbury Press. "It was taking up so much of my time that I knew I needed to graduate in three years so I could focus all my time on the company.

Kafasis, a New Jersey native, took his first job in the computer industry at age 15 reviewing software online. A few years later, he met software creator Alex Lagutin, now 31, and Quentin Carcinelli, 21, and together, they founded the company, Rogue Amoeba, in September 2002.

The Tufts graduate and his partners develop software, primarily audio products, which are sold over the Internet - generating between $200,000 and $300,000 in revenues per year.

The company's best-selling product, Audio Hijack, allows customers to record any sound off a computer then play it back later. "It's just like a VCR," he says.

Another of Kafasis' products allows users to create virtual radio stations using their computers.

"Anyone can program music and play it out to the world [with our software]," he told the Press. "We even have some college radio stations using our program for Web casts of their regular radio programs."

While Rogue Amoeba's profits are real, the company itself is entirely virtual - in fact, Kafasis has never met Lagutin in person, who is based in Russia. The three partners communicate from their home offices using Internet chat services.

"We really manage our own portion of the company," Kafasis told the Press. "The only real difference between us and a company in an office building is that we don't actually see anyone face to face."

The Tufts graduate touted the flexibility of an online business, noting that he can make his own hours and still maintain an active social life.

"The reality is that virtual business is the next big thing," Kafasis, who considered a career in law before the company took off, told the newspaper. "So much can exist online these days and it is much cheaper to operate a business this way. We have very little overhead."

For young, mobile entrepreneurs like Kafasis, the arrangement is extremely advantageous.

"I'm planning to move to Boston," Kafasis told the Press. "But the beauty of this company is that it doesn't matter where I live, as long as I have an Internet connection."

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