In 2000, Lastminute.com was everyone's darling. Unlike some of its dotcom neighbours, Lastminute actually had a sensible business model, using online technology to accelerate offline business by flogging off near-stale inventory in the travel and entertainment industries.

Broadly targeted at anyone with an interest in short-notice inspiration, it was managing to dispose of unused £1000 holidays to exotic locations at under £300, and seats in restaurants at similar silly prices, simply because the operators it acted as an agent for were facing the same costs whether they were used or not.

In the last 2 years, Lastminute have done deals with many providers of these kind of services, and have successfully sold enough of them to make up for typical slim margins in the travel industry, and been very, very good at turning visitors into regular customers. And now it's paid off - Lastminute are in the black in the UK and in France, three months ahead of schedule.

Although I'm still glad I didn't buy shares at the IPO price...