Research Frontiers Finds Investors, Consumers through the Internet

Article excerpt

Research Frontiers Inc. is one company that is taking full advantage of the Internet to do business.

"Would we exist without the Internet? Of course," said Joseph M. Harary, vice president and general counsel of RFI. "But it would be much more difficult. The Internet has provided an interactive communications tool that allows us to communicate with present investors, potential investors, technology licensees and consumers."

For Mr. Harary, ease of communication is the key to the company's Web site (http://www.refr-spd.com) and part of the reason the company is able to succeed in their development of suspended particle device technology with only 11 employees. A process supported by more than 100 patents and patent applications, SPD allows users to control the amount of light that passes through glass used in windows for homes and offices, automobile sun roofs and portable computer displays.

"In developing the [Web] site, we were not only able to explain the SPD concept in text but also show simple animated graphic files that allow the visitor to actually see the window darken and lighten," Mr. Harary said.

In addition to aptly explaining the technology-based product that Research Frontiers licenses to window manufacturers internationally, the Web site also allows the publicly held company to communicate important stock and investment information to investors and individuals who may be looking for stock-based investments.

"When I am looking for a company to invest in, or want to check on my investments, the first place I turn to is the Internet," Mr. Harary said. "Individuals who are looking to invest in a technology firm are probably doing the same. When those individuals come across our Web site, they not only are able to learn about what we do, but also who we are, our past growth and future projections."

The Woodbury, N.Y., company's site also contains press releases and a newsletter that keeps investors up to date on everyday events at Research Frontiers.

In creating the Web site, Mr. Harary, who is the company's official Web master, has linked the site directly to DBC Online (http://www.dbc.com), an independent market data service. When clicking through the stock quote heading on the RFI home page, visitors will automatically be taken to the latest stock market report for the company's issue. Potential investors can also click through to Securities and Exchange Commission reports dating back to August 1995.

Earlier this year, Research Frontiers entered into a license agreement with a major window film manufacturer. This is an event that Mr. Harary says was greatly facilitated by the Internet and World Wide Web technology.

"When the company first began looking at Research Frontiers they had at their fingertips, and without having to call anyone or conduct any difficult research, the Web site which contained all the information they needed to learn about the company," Mr. Harary said. "Once negotiation between us began, the first time I sent the draft agreement it took an hour and a half to fax it to four recipients. Once I had everyone's e-mail address, we were able to work through about a dozen drafts in the course of three days, a process that would have taken weeks using mail or even an overnight delivery service. …