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Carpenter, Candice

CARPENTER, CANDICE

Candice Carpenter is co-founder and chairman of iVillage Inc., the largest online service for women and one of the largest content sites on the World Wide Web, with traffic rates of more than 5 million users monthly. The network, geared toward women between the ages of 25 and 54, offers 18 different channels: astrology, babies, beauty, books, computing, diet and fitness, food, games, health, home and garden, Lamaze, money, news and issues, parenting, pets, relationships, shopping, and work. Among other things, visitors are able to communicate with online experts on a wide range of topics, join discussion and support groups, post messages, provide links to their own Web sites, enter contests, and shop. Membership is free, as the company makes its money via advertising and sponsorships, as well as from products it sells online.

After earning a bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford University, Carpenter went on to attain a master's degree from Harvard Business School in 1983. She launched her career at American Express Co., where she eventually was appointed vice president of the financial firm's consumer marketing division. Between 1989 and 1993, Carpenter served as president of Time Warner's Time Life Video and Television. In 1994, she convinced QVC Inc. Chairman Barry Diller to create a home shopping channel that offered more high-end merchandise. Diller agreed, and appointed Carpenter president of the new Q2 shopping channel, a venture that eventually flopped.

When America Online (AOL) hired Carpenter as a consultant in 1995, she had already been entertaining ideas about how the Internet could serve as a resource for women. The result of her vision, iVillage.com, was launched in June of 1995 with Carpenter at the helm as CEO. AOL backed the new venture with a $2 million investment.

Carpenter spent the next few years broadening iVillage's content base and developing e-commerce alliances with companies that sold products specifically for women. She added the additional role of co-chairperson to her duties at iVillage in December of 1998, and took her company public four months later. As with the initial public offerings of many dot-com upstarts, the newly public firm saw its share prices skyrocket on the first day of trading. However, the high was short-lived as shareholders began grumbling when iVillage had not yet achieved profitability by the middle of the following year. In August of 2000, Carpenter handed managerial control of the firm to president Doug McCormick. As chairperson, she continues to work on honing iVillage's strategy and steering its scaled down expansion efforts.

FURTHER READING:

Brookman, Faye. "An i Toward Profitability; iVillage Inc." Crain's New York Business. November 27, 2000.

. "Millionaires of Silicon Alley: Candice Carpenter." Crain's New York Business. November 29, 1999.

iVillage Inc. "Corporate Profile." New York: iVillage Inc., 2000. Available from www.corporate-ir.net.

SEE ALSO: AOL Time Warner Inc.; iVillage.com; Women and the Internet

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