No More Instant Tech Moguls?

Remember reading about all those Internet startups that had Venture Capitalists with wheelbarrows full of gold bars showing up at your door if you could slap together a PowerPoint presentation that had "2.0" written on it somewhere? That seems to be a very rare thing these days, and entrepreneurs with a tech outlook are growing their businesses the old fashioned way again: with an idea, no money, no sleep, and not much help. The story of Landy Ung and Wan Hsi Yuan's text-message coupon business is the stuff of current startup economy.

At an October startup camp in Manhattan, Ung, in a ponytail and puffy vest, and Yuan, in an ", One Free Hug" T-shirt, exchanged cards with other startup founders, led a talk about marketing on Facebook and flew through e-mails on their laptops during breaks.

"We don't go out anymore," Yuan said. "For the past two years, all we do is work." When a founder of another Web site asked Yuan to name a restaurant he likes, he was stumped. He thought for a minute, then named Cafe Fuego, an 8coupons advertiser.

Ung said, "He develops and creates. I do everything else. People look at the site and say, 'How many people do you have working on it? I think, 'Umm. What should I say?'"

Ung and Wan's business might fail, but it won't be because someone gave them money before they had any idea what to do with it but use it up. Can I get a coupon on that service of yours?

Tags:  Tech, mog, instant, Stan