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Treasure Tangle
By Ian Mount

(FORTUNE Small Business) – Since gracing our cover in March 2005, sunken-treasure recovery firm Odyssey Marine Exploration has been working toward a huge payday: the exploration of the HMS Sussex, sunk off Gibraltar in 1694 laden with gold worth as much as $4 billion. In July, Spain gave the go-ahead, but in January, the regional government of Andalusia protested that Odyssey hasn't complied with its laws. For example, Odyssey agreed to bring an Andalusian archeologist onboard; the region, however, never appointed one, despite Odyssey's repeated requests. Accusations fly in the Spanish press, but it remains unclear what the local requirements are. Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm says the Sussex lies in international waters outside Spain's control and he is negotiating with Spanish officials only as a matter of "courtesy."

BIGFOOT NETWORKS: Third-place winner in FSB's November 2005 business-plan competition, Bigfoot has won $4 million in financing from Venio Capital Partners of Austin. Launched at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Bigfoot developed a technology to prevent technical delays in online games.

MANNEQUIN MADNESS: Profiled by FSB in February 2005, the Oakland mannequin-rental firm has won the World of Difference contest sponsored by the Small Business Technology Institute and Intel. Owner Judi Henderson-Townsend (right) plans to use the $5,000 cash and $100,000 line of credit for technology upgrades.

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