Cash & Carrion

Picking up bargains at dead companies

It looks like venture capitalism is giving way to vulture capitalism. Circling overhead: Michael Oken, owner of Network Systems Technologies, an 11-person computer networking company in Atlanta. Last month, Oken picked up $47,000 in used computer equipment when now-bankrupt "urban culture portal" Urban Box Office ($33.5 million in venture backing) auctioned off its effects. "My clients don't always need bleeding-edge equipment," says Oken. "We go out and buy from bleeding-edge companies that have bled to death." Oken says he scooped up a Cisco Systems router for $2,500 that sells for $11,000 new. Within a few days, Oken says, he had sold the router for $6,500. Urban Box Office's investors can only wish they had seen that kind of return.

EDITED BY Edited by Kimberly Weisul

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