20. Nexis for the Rest of Us

Patrick Spain loves Google (join the club). But as good as it is, try using it to find info about the digital-camera industry, for instance. You better like sales pitches. A high-end research system like Lexis-Nexis will find what you’re looking for, but you’ll pay through the nose. Spain, who cofounded the business-research service Hoover’s, started HighBeam to aim in between. “We’re trying to blend the free Web with premium online services,” he says. Launched in January 2004, HighBeam has already attracted about 10 million nonpaying users (he’ll show them advertising in 2005), and subscribers in the “midfive figures” who pay $19.95 per month. And while HighBeam put on its brights, Google’s and Yahoo’s own efforts in premium research services turned dim last year. Breakthroughs Big moments, immediate results


Patrick Spain, 52

Founder, Chairman, and CEO
HighBeam Research Inc.
Chicago, Illinois