EARLIER THIS YEAR BRAZILIAN-BORN New York City cab driver Clever da Silva launched the web site www.nytaxi.com, where visitors can see the Big Apple's streets through a camera on his dashboard, Now, he is certain that his site will attract enough people to pull in big advertising bucks. The webcam attracted 270,000 people in its first six weeks and, if all goes according to the entrepreneur's plan, these numbers will soar and radio show and movie tie-ins will be sure to follow.
Da Silva has spent about US$100,000 running his show through a laptop computer, a cell phone and a wireless modem. "Now I want to make a lot of money:' he says. In two years, he hopes, the company will be ready to join the ranks of other Internet stars and hit the stock market with an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
In June, da Silva sold a stake in his site to Internet company Realtime Web Network for an undisclosed amount. The company plans to invest $500,000, hire staff and improve the site. The deal started when Richard Oceguera, Realtime's vice president, first met the driver-cum-webmaster in his cab.
Da Silva's transmissions will be changed from the present still photographs that are updated every two minutes to continuous video. Then, a guide of New York restaurants and tourist attractions called Clever's Picks will be posted. In three months, Realtime expects to double the site's traffic and sell $40,000 per month in advertising. Oceguera has started negotiations with New York radio stations to launch da Silva's show in English, Spanish and Portuguese. "He will become a star, says the executive.
Da Silva, who arrived in the United States 20...