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Jewish Web site values teen entrepreneur at millions

Site is less than a year old, but has already turned into a gold mine

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A London teenager has had the Web site he started for the Jewish community less than a year ago valued at up to £5 million. Benjamin Cohen started Jewishnet seven months ago to put the UK Jewish community in touch with Jewish businesses. The 17 year-old's site has since grabbed 2.2 million visitors. Cohen's site provides a directory of Jewish products and services. From a kosher restaurant in Fulham to a Jewish accountant in Finchley, simply key in the details and a list of options will be provided. There is also an on-line Rabbi who is kept busy with over a thousand enquiries per month. The "koshersex" section of the site can fix you up with a Jewish mate or penpal. It also plans to provide a free Internet service to compete with the likes of Freeserve. The secret of this very forward-thinking Web site, Cohen told today's Times newspaper, is the brand idea. "If [Jewish] people see Freeserve or Screaming.Net, and then they see a Jewish alternative, they will go with that," said Cohen, who is still a student at the Jewish Free School in London. The young entrepreneur added that this Jewish brand loyalty idea was previously an untapped market on the Internet. But when the stockbroking firm Durlacher, which backs Cohen's father's firm – Epoch Software - saw the site, it decided to snap it up straight away. The deal with Durlacher is currently being completed. Asian Online, which deals with the Asian community in Britain, is valued at around £5 million. Cohen said this was a good indicator of his site's future worth. ®

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