Nothing Ventured

In a swanky convention hall in the center of Paris, French entrepreneur Nicolas Garreau sips his orange juice and curses his lot. It's the March 2001 meeting of First Tuesday — a monthly soirée at which entrepreneurs and venture capitalists exchange war stories and business cards — and Garreau is on the prowl. He needs an investor to provide between $400,000 and $700,000 to launch, his Internet gambling venture. Garreau casts his eye hopefully around the red-carpeted room, sizing up the dwindling number of investors in dark suits who continue to attend this once red-hot networking event. But none approach...

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