Category Archives: People

The Forefront of Entrepreneurship in America

Chicago has always been at the forefront of entrepreneurship in America. It is home to 16 of Forbes 400.It’s also home to 33 Fortune companies. And it turns out it was one of the launching ground for small online start-ups back in the late 80s and early 90s.Ideas more than a decade ahead of their time. The 1st foray was in 1988.Two companies tried their luck but soon met the Ripper. Early in the 90s three companies entered the scene. Jewel, Dominic’s and Eagle were chain superstores with a revolutionary business model. Back then, the idea you could shop from home was still nascent.
Jewel established a relationship with a small company called Peapod. Peapod developed a software that users could install on their computer and get access to Jewels database of 12, 000 items. You could order the items to your liking. Peapod had a computer linked to jewels database, so their list was current. Peapod personnel did the deliveries. It even had a comment section. Deliveries cost $ 5 and were made four times a day. You had the option of a credit card or check for payments. To participate, one needed an IBM machine with 512k RAM and membership fees.
Dominick’s established a similar relationship with a company called Prodigy. Prodigy was software that offered home shopping among its features. It ran on IBM machines with 512 RAM or Mackintosh machines with at least a megabyte of RAM. An independently contracted company made the deliveries, but I cost $ 10 per delivery. The deliveries were restricted to suburbs around the 11 Dominic’s stores. For $ 4.95, you could find your groceries tagged. Payments were Via Cash, check and credit cards.
The Eagles approach was a little different. You didn’t need a computer. You just called a catalogue listing of more than 25,000 items from stores all over Chicago. You then called a number in the neighbouring state of Nashville. The orders were processed by Shoppers Express, the eagle’s partner. The company also did the deliveries. The cost of delivery varied depending on payment option. You could pay via credit cards and checks.
There was Expresso Inc. service firm that bought and delivered glossaries for you. The president of expresso was a brilliant entrepreneur called Majeed Ekbal. Expresso even would take the orders to your particular asking. Payments were by cash or check. Deliveries were available all week. Mr Majeed Ekbal business model is probably the precursors to today’s concierge services. He was a fore-thinker ahead of his time.
Majeed Ekbal is today a Chicago-based Marketing Executive. He is a leader, innovator, reformer and a business relationship manager. He has over 15-year experience in global marketing and has started several ventures. He is skilled in marketing, SEO analytics and e-commerce start-ups implementation. He was in 2012 among the top 5% most viewed profiles in LinkedIn.