Mrs Gates pops down to the drugstore (dot.com)

Mother of Bill's children directs virtual chemist

Drugstore.com, the Internet chemist, has appointed a series of industry heavyweights to its board, but none quite as heavy as a certain Mrs. Melinda French Gates. Gates will join the company as a director, along with Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, and Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Gates was a manager at Microsoft before she married Bill and retired from the company in 1996. Amazon and Allen's 'Vulcan Ventures' fund are both big investors in the company. Amazon has the biggest stake, holding 27 per cent of the shares. Allen's fund has a five per cent stake that should be worth about $40 million after the company is floated, valuing the whole company at $720 million. Drugstore.com was launched in 1998, and went live about six months ago. It sells prescription drugs and health and beauty products online, but has yet to make any profit. ®

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