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Tuesday, February 22, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 100

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An e-success story for UH alumnus

By Craig Stewart
Daily Cougar Staff

Three years ago, Damien Nelson graduated from UH with a bachelor's degree in business. Today, he is a co-founder of EarthSports.com, an e-business dedicated to extreme sports. You might say his career has gone faster than a speeding snowboard.

EarthSports.com, which went online in December, caters to people interested in sports such as mountain biking, skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.


Photo courtesy of Damien Nelson


UH alumnus Damien Nelson co-founded EarthSports.com, a growing e-business dedicated to extreme sports. Nelson is shown here waxing a surfboard at Surfside.

"This has been an interesting and exciting part of my life, and I believe a lot of my success is a result of the education I received at UH," Nelson said. "My studies in business administration provided me with a foundation that has enabled me to negotiate great deals and build solid relationships."

He also said the ability to go over his business ideas with his professors helped tremendously.

One of the key elements of starting up any online business is finding financial backing. EarthSports.com has not only gotten that, but has attracted high-profile board members, including Tom Borders of Border's books and David Cary, former chief financial officer of i2 Technologies.

Nelson said the goal of EarthSports.com is not only to become the No. 1 extreme sports retail site on the Internet, but to become the No. 1 site for information about extreme sports on the Net.

"We plan on having an extensive library where the users of our site can learn how to perform tricks, with step-by-step instructions as well as videos of the tricks," Nelson said. "We also will have information about when tournaments and competitions will be held nationwide, weather reports and other important info."

EarthSports' site design was handled by Sonja Lindsay, who also does ads and logos for the company. The site is interactive and uses Flash technology to animate diagrams and demonstrations. The site can also be viewed in a non-Flash version.

Nelson said one of the main attractions of EarthSports.com is that its founders are passionate about the sports and participate in many of them. This makes the employees at EarthSports.com truly love their jobs, he said.

EarthSports.com has been growing exponentially in its short life. One-and-a-half months ago, it had three employees, but now the number is up to 13. The company is in negotiations to take over the warehouse next door to its own because it is running out of room to store merchandise.

There are also plans to have the Web site available in five languages and to advertise around the world.

The company's future seems bright, and predictions are that it will break even financially by the end of the year -- a major accomplishment for online businesses, which normally invest most of their revenues in advertising and development.
 

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