President/C.E.O., OpenTable.com, San Francisco, Calif.
Age: 32. Why he's rising: His company is only a year and one-half old, but his notion of combining a consumerfriendly real-time Internet dining reservation system with an operatorfriendly reservation and table management system has caught on in a hurry. Who's on board: Dot.com companies need strategic partners and investors to keep growing, and Templeton has convinced a Who's Who of the industry to link up with OpenTable. The list includes Brad Ogden's Lark Creek Group, Larry Forgione's An American Restaurant Group, Ark Restaurants Corp., Richard Melman's Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., and Real Restaurants Group. Union Square's Danny Meyer now sits on the OpenTable.com board, and the roster of investors now includes American Express and the Zagat organization. Background: This former U.S. Army ranger spent nine years in the restaurant business before joining Quester Technology, Inc. He put his MBA plans on hold to found OpenTable in Oct. 1998. Wins praise for: Rapid expansion into new markets; ease-ofuse of the company's propriety Electronic Reservation Book. What users say: "We're excited about the ability to recognize all of our repeat customers, know how often they dine in our restaurant, and cater to their individual preferences." —Robert Wied-maier, Chef/Owner, Marcel's, Washington D.C. What the future holds: Already on line in 13 markets, Templeton's looking to bring more cities on board this year.