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Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 12 years ago

The Four Fs

A life-altering car crash forced Anand Pallegar to discover his passion: Building a business.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

A life-altering car crash forced Anand Pallegar to discover his passion: Building a business


Anand Pallegar uses one distinct formula when choosing new clients and jobs to pursue at his Sarasota-based marketing and Web site development company.

He calls it the four Fs: fun, forward, fame and financial. There has to be some combination of those concepts for the company to accept or pursue any job. While the fun and the financial part are self-explanatory, the forward and fame concepts go to the core of why Pallegar started the company, atLarge, six years ago.

“Marketing had always been a shotgun approach,” Pallegar says. “But the Internet allows us to build a Web platform that can adapt to any user.”

In other words, using the Web — and using it well — for a variety of marketing and branding tasks can take a company forward and provide an avenue of fame in its particular domain. Pallegar, 30, says he and his staff accomplish the four Fs for each client by keeping one question paramount to the work: How do you define success online?

The search for that answer, says Pallegar, has allowed the company to build its client list steadily to the point where it now ranges from the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau to the Bradenton-based IMG Academies. The company's client list also includes the Observer Group, parent of the Review, for which atLarge developed

Pallegar declines to release specific annual revenue figures, only to say that the company is into the seven figures. It has 10 employees and is in the process of opening a new office in Tampa. The company is also looking out West for clients, going as far as California. Says Pallegar: “Now is the opportunity for us to grow market share, given the current economic climate.”

Even at 30 years old, Pallegar is a seasoned entrepreneur. Born in England, he came to the States in the mid-1990s to go to college at the University of Michigan. He planned on turning his love of science and chemistry into a career as a doctor.

But being on a college campus at the height of the Internet boom, says Pallegar, turned “everything sideways.” While working as a bartender and waiter to pay bills, he developed a passion for computers and soon realized his skills were in demand in the fledgling Internet industry.

He took a job with a German-based marketing company that was seeking to capitalize on the U.S dot-com boom. That job, which lasted less than a year, led to another job, this time with a dot-come startup in Detroit.

Still only 20 years old, Pallegar thought he was living the dream. He was sleeping in the office, sometimes on a kitchen counter. He constantly read and learned about how to harness the power of the Internet to improve a company's branding or marketing. He started atLarge as a part-time gig from his basement, with his first client being a Detroit-based furniture store.

Pallegar's path took a wide turn in 2003 however, when he was in a car crash that left him with 18 fractured facial bones. He spent some time recuperating in the Bradenton area, where his parents had retired and he never moved back north.

Instead, Pallegar stayed and began to rebuild his entrepreneurial career. He opened a coffee shop just outside downtown Sarasota and he launched an on-line daily newsletter, the S2 Report, a round up of local business news. (The Review published S2 for several months in 2006 and 2007.)

The coffee shop and S2 are gone now, but Pallegar continues building and refining atLarge. In addition to growing its revenue base and market share, the company has recently been recognized by a bevy of organizations for its successes, including the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

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