Web Exclusives:Features
a PAW web exclusive column

March 7 , 2001:
On call 24-7
When he's not doctoring, Danny Grossi '93 is selling on the Internet

By Rob MacKay '89

Having just graduated from University of Toronto's medical school as an anesthesiologist last summer, Danny Grossi '93 is currently working 80-hour weeks - with frequent all-nighters - in a residency program not far from where he studied. But don't worry, he still finds the time to manage his four Internet companies and fledging shipping service.

"Usually I can work an hour or so in the morning and a few hours at night [on the Internet businesses] to keep them going, and then I give them a full 10-hour day when I'm not at the hospital," says the native Canadian who also holds a master's of science in hematology and oncology from UT. "I don't want my medicine to suffer, I just really enjoy the Internet."

The oldest and most profitable of his sites, www.video-now.com, sells thousands of DVDs a day, mostly to customers in the U.S., but he's shipped these filmless films to such far away places as Mozambique, Pakistan, and South Africa. To do so, Grossi, who is 30, has rented a warehouse and hired a slew of employees. And to cut costs in the future, he's setting up a shipping business in two months. "Soon I'll be able to ship my competitors' DVDs," he jokes.

Grossi also runs www.emovietoys.com, which customers can use to by action figures of movie characters, such as Austin Powers and Spawn, or toys uninspired by the silver screen. In the near future, he plans to add posters and VHS movies to the menu at Video-now and launch two more e-companies, which he declines to discuss until they are up and running. Not such bad side jobs for a man who also finds the time to run three miles in the morning and six to eight miles in the afternoon.

A molecular biology major at Princeton whose thesis researched hemotopoietic stem cells, Grossi is humble about his cyber-success. "I was lucky. This idea of the DVDs started as a bit of a joke with my cousin," he admits. "My family always laughs at me because I always come up with ideas for things. But I launched the site and slowly started to sell movies. Then from June [of 2000] to Christmas, it skyrocketed. I went from working in my basement to having a 5,000-square-foot office, staff, and warehouse and having people want to buy my business."

Happy with about four hours of sleep, Grossi likes the high-energy lifestyle he's carved for himself. So for now he will not be deciding between medicine and e-business, he'll take both - thank you very much. "Being a doctor is very gratifying when you help someone, but you're always around sickness," he says.

"Internet is a completely different lifestyle. You can express yourself in many ways, and it's more lucrative than medicine."

Rob MacKay, is an editor at Timesnewsweekly, a weekly newspaper in Queens, New York. He can be reached at robertazo@hotmail.com