Infogroup founder Gupta to launch new database business

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Vin Gupta
Vin Gupta

Vinod Gupta, Infogroup's founder and former chairman and CEO, will launch a new database business next month.

Gupta said he expects his latest endeavor, Database101.com, to open mid-October. The company will provide databases and technology to salespeople and small business.

“What happens is if you're a salesperson or a small-business owner, and you get a database, you say, ‘What do I do with this?' A lot of times, they don't even use it,” he said. “So what we're looking at is, how do we analyze their own customer base? How do we tell them who their best prospects are? But [we will] also offer them solutions, like a CRM model, so they can send e-mails, send direct mail, and can categorize their prospects.”

All of the company's offerings, which will include social networking, will be accessible through the company's website.

Gupta will serve as chairman of the board of directors at Database101.com. He has assembled a team of 22 employees, including former Infogroup COO Monica Messer and former Infogroup chief administrative officer Fred Vakili, who will serve as president of database and technology and president of customer satisfaction, respectively.

Gupta, who is funding the company entirely with his own money, said he envisions Database101.com being a $100 million company “in a few years.”

“I'm only 64 years old,” he said. “I've been an entrepreneur all my life. I'm not just going to sit around and collect coupons — and you can only play so much golf. You have to keep on working. My dad is 95. He's a doctor, and he's still working.”

Gupta founded American Business Information in 1972. The company was renamed InfoUSA in 1998 and then Infogroup in 2008. CCMP Capital Advisors acquired the company and took it private this year.

He resigned in March from Infogroup's board of directors, part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The federal agency accused Gupta of using almost $9.5 million in corporate funds to “support his lavish lifestyle,” which included personal jet travel and expenses related to his yacht. He also was ordered to pay $7.4 million in penalties and is barred from serving as an officer of a public company. In July 2008, Gupta stepped down as the company's chairman, and a month later as its CEO, part of a proposed settlement of a shareholder lawsuit.

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