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Ashton Clark, 20, and Ryan Clark, 20 / Dynamik Duo
Entrepreneurs are lucky if they can turn one idea into a viable enterprise. Ryan and Ashton Clark, twin brothers at the University of Illinois, are now into double digits.
Since launching their first web site in 1999, the siblings have created nearly a dozen web businesses that sell everything from consumer electronics to shoes to tickets-even parking spaces. Never mind that the Internet was supposed to usher in an age of disintermediation. The Clarks have found their calling serving as intermediaries between online consumers and manufacturers and wholesalers.
Their first web site, Circuitbreakers.com, was conceived after the twins-then just 11 years old-saw an opportunity to sell affordable electronic products online. They persuaded a Chicago-area electronics wholesaler to let them sell its merchandise online under their Circuitbreakers moniker. They sold it less than two years later, on eBay, and the proceeds helped finance their future web sites.
Today, the twins preside over Dynamik Duo, their holding company, which operates half-a-dozen web operations. Among them: Hostivo, a site that serves as a one-stop shop for companies looking to build their own web sites; 247mixtapes, a paid music service that lets music listeners make their own music compilations (both brothers are pianists); and We Park Chicago, a site where drivers can reserve parking spaces in the metro Chicago area. They get commissions on sales from shoes and parking.
While they often divvy up duties on a business-by-business basis, the brothers consider every business a joint venture. “We both have our own respective ideas,” says Ashton. “But at the end of the day, they’re both of ours.”