And, of course, there is always the VIP room within even an exclusive club: A new feature introduced to the site Wednesday offers a premium membership that allows members to write content for the online magazine that can include advertorials and infomercials to share their businesses and products. (Cost: $500 a year for club members and $900 a year for nonmembers).
DeRose says he has already gotten a slew of e-mails from other interested investors and bankers after reading about the site in the NY Post and thinks the site will have significantly more members in the coming months.
The first big expansion for the company, currently based in New York and London, will be in the Middle East, he says, where they've been especially popular. A series of quarterly print magazines will roll out in 2009 profiling members and places in major cities, including: Paris; Berlin; Cape Town, South Africa; Moscow, Rome, Copenhagen, Denmark; and possibly Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Amid their planning for the future, DeRose and Perez are also working on organizing a gala in London scheduled for next spring, wherein about 300 members will attend and can get to know one another and conduct business in person. Think of that as a millionaire's Meetup.
The investment makes DeRose co-chair with Rose Marie Perez, a communications veteran who currently runs the operation, and is a first step toward building up and expanding the new global media enterprise. DeRose is counting on ads (ad recession be damned!) for most of the enterprise's revenue, targeting folks who want their businesses in front of big spenders.
Is this abusiness model? DeRose compares his site to Facebook, which allows any old person to join and received a $200 million infusion from Microsoft. His target demographic is a stratospheric group of "accomplished professionals."
"If a business model like that carries a value of a billion dollars, I think this far surpasses Facebook," he said.