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Sons and Daughters

Ernie Holsendolph '58
Robert M. Rosencrans   '49
James P. Rubin '82

“Internaut” Herron Enables E-commerce
By Laura Butchy

Christine Herron ’91

Christine Herron ’91 has earned a place on AltaVista’s “Women in Technology Power 20” for her career spent developing new applications for Internet technologies. To mark the April release on AltaVista’s website of a special report on Women in Technology, its editors produced a list of the industry’s most prominent and influential women.

Herron is founder and CEO of Mercury2, a San Francisco-based start-up that helps companies doing international commerce understand the tariffs, taxes and regulations that are unique to each country.

“Our vision is to eliminate the conflict that has arisen between the open nature of the Internet and the regulation of the real world,” Herron said.

Despite the dramatic recent growth of e-commerce, regulatory borders remain between buyers and sellers. Conflicting policies, rules, and regional patchwork regulations are obstacles to the emerging online economy.

“Mercury2 is an enthusiastic participant in industry efforts to identify solutions for a true global economy, and we aggressively pursue supporting technical solutions,” Herron said. “We watch the rules of international trade so the players can play. We are the new Internauts.”

After graduating from Columbia, where she was a dean’s list student majoring in English as well as captain of the school’s cheerleaders, Herron received an M.B.A. from Stanford. A dancer-turned-snowboarder, Herron worked at NetObjects, Microsoft, eSchwab and Hearst New Media before founding Mercury2.

She worked out the initial plans for Mercury2 across her dining room table with industry friends and advisers, and kick-started the company with about $100,000 in personal credit-card debt. Now Mercury2 is growing, with 17 full-time employees and about as many contractors.

“We’re building something with enough inherent value that the risk of real failure is pretty low,” Herron says, even if it “ends up that it was just a great job, instead of building the next Microsoft or Cisco.”


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