When children have difficulty with their homework, they often receive help from parents, older siblings or tutors. Individuals with aggressive canines have the option of consulting dog training professionals to help get their pets under control. And when people are injured in auto accidents they are typically taken to hospitals where they are examined and treated.
What about startup payment companies that are uncertain how to devise the best business structure and position their products and services for a successful launch, or what if established businesses are suffering lackluster performance or worse. Where can they turn to find effective assistance?
Whitehall Capital Advisors LLC was created to fill that need. Whitehall founder and Chief Executive Off-icer Tom Cannon said his company is called in when businesses require help to focus, grow and move forward.
Whitehall does this by helping companies refine their business plans, raise capital, recruit quality executives, and launch and market new products and technologies. Whitehall's experts also advise clients on equity/debt formation, international strategy creation and execution, licensing, and preparation of joint ventures and co-partner initiatives.
Whitehall prides itself on having the technological expertise, business acumen and experience necessary to help companies whether they are just starting up, moving in a new direction, rolling out a new product line, going global, raising capital for expansion or streamlining processes to prepare for growth. Cannon will even become a company's interim CEO during a company's transition until the business gets an even footing.
And according to Whitehall, its principals have experience with all aspects of financial services, payments, payment platforms, authentication and transaction processing, as well as extensive software and Web services experience. Whitehall has consulted with companies from South Korea to Australia to the United Kingdom. The company also just finished an 18-month assignment in Israel.
Cannon's experience in the payments industry began in the 1970s at International Business Machines Corp. where he served as Branch Manager for offices in Chicago and then moved on to head the company's San Francisco offices.
Subsequently, Cannon and a group of friends started First Data Resources (now First Data Corp.). He served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. In that role, he oversaw First Data's worldwide sales. He noted that while he was at First Data, he also invented the first affinity (co-branded) credit card with the American Automobile Association and Visa Inc.
Cannon also was an innovator in the prepaid sphere. "I invented the prepaid card and launched it over 20 years ago," he said. "Of course, the infrastructure wasn't there to support it electronically ... [Now] it's bigger than credit cards. It's not something that I could predict ... I had a hard time convincing people of it 10 years ago."
In addition, Cannon founded GasCard Inc. in 1985 and took the company public. Through that experience, he learned the intricacies of raising money and positioning a company for a merger or sale. And this became a specialty. "That's my primary focus, and I've consulted with all of the big players," he said.
Andre Hansen, GasCard's Director, Information Technology, said Cannon "surrounded himself with the best people, created the right cultural environment and instilled a work ethic that ensured success."
Whitehall offers strategic advisory services in several ways: hosted software as a service, on-demand and mobile-generated services, pay-per-use models and fees for services used. Through its merchant banking arm, Whitehall Capital LLC, the company provides assistance with financing, business structuring, capitalization, mergers and acquisitions, debt/equity structured finance to $25 million or more, and business valuation.
According to Whitehall, the cost of retaining the company's services is quickly recovered through expense reduction, revenue increases or both, and in many cases, it is equivalent to the cost of paying a part-time employee for several months.
In addition to placing experts on the management teams of client companies, if needed, Whitehall also formulates plans for capitalization and devises new strategies based on a given company's strengths. Whitehall works as long as it takes to complete the job; it can sometimes take months, or even years, to get a company headed in the right direction.
Cannon said Whitehall is an organization of doers, not talkers. "We won't engage unless we're sure we can deliver, and we deliver specified results," he said. "It's not vague generalities. We quantify it and help people move their business considerably to the forefront of whatever business environment that [the business] might be in."
Mitch Wiggins, CEO of Western Clearing Corp., said Cannon's expertise in the payments space helped Western Clearing with all sides of its automated clearing house and check 21 operations. "We think very highly of Tom and his company," Wiggins said.
Cannon helped the company raise equity capital, introduced Western Clearing to international banks and potential originating depository financial institution partners.
Arthur Mrozowski, a partner with Silicon Hill Ventures LLC, has worked on various deals with Cannon since 1998, when Cannon introduced the first gift card at One Network. Mrozowski said he is impressed with Cannon's knowledge, especially in the banking industry. Whenever Silicon Hill needs an expert in mobile or Web-based transactions, the company calls on Whitehall, Mrozowski added.
Peter Lang co-founded Pay Commerce Inc. with Cannon and knows how difficult it is to find someone who has both engineering expertise and a good head for business. "Tom is the most knowledgeable, hardest working, energetic payments executive I've ever know," he said. "He is strategic and detailed, able and willing to do everything necessary to build a company, and he takes exceptional care of clients.
"Tom handles all phases of negotiation, planning, execution and training with authoritative knowledge, skill and experience seldom found in one person."
Cannon listed three "philosophies" he applies to Whitehall. The first is to respect the individual. "The second one is only deal with things in a highly ethical, professional way," he said. "I won't even touch something if I consider it to be borderline illegal."
The third is to pursue excellence in anything you guarantee "because the only thing you can really control in your life is your reputation," he noted. "How much money you make is secondary. I won't deal just for money - never will." Cannon added that he has frequently turned down large retainer fees when anything, including the individual seeking his help, seemed shady.
Cannon said his biggest reward "is seeing people succeed because of specific advice and things that I put in place that helped them save a tremendous amount of money, and I get a lot of referral business because of it. Endorsements like that, you can't beat it when somebody calls up and says this guy saved me $2 million last year, and you ought to take a look at him."
Cannon believes one of the biggest challenges people face today is sifting truth from falsehood. "The economics is disgraceful in this country, because I think the numbers are misleading," he said, adding that some individuals continue to proffer deceptive numbers to influence business.
Cannon said that when the capital markets encounter trouble, it flows down to all economic sectors, and there are "permutations of attitude that flow from the strength of the U.S. markets in particular. I'm not a market predictor, but my guess is that we're going to see another big downturn before the year's end."
The present market has changed "the whole complexion of the startup," he added. "A person who can afford the risk can make a lot of money investing in developing-stage companies right now." He added that in spite of the huge opportunities available, risk-aversion is saturating small business under this presidential administration, perhaps more even than under President Bush.
Whitehall can assist companies, large or small, at any stage of their funding and operations. Cannon said many people don't understand what pieces need to be in place for each stage of funding; some don't even know what those stages are. As a result, "they're never going to raise" the necessary funds, he said.
Cannon advises entrepreneurs to proceed carefully and keep expenses low. "Try to barter instead of using cash," he said. "Reserve your own capital, and don't give up your full-time job until you're sure you have something that's workable." Just as important is ensuring your family is behind your decision, he added.
Even the best management teams at times experience gaps in the skills and knowledge needed to move forward. Whitehall endeavors to be the experts who will come in, smooth out the wrinkles and help companies progress to the next level.
Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
Chief Executive Officer
81 Throckmorton Ave, Suite 202
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Web site: www.whitehall.ws
Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 091002
220601 - Nationwide Payment Systems
211102 - Kalamata Capital Group
210701 - Choice Merchant Solutions
200601 - Delta Payment Solutions
190802 - Credit.net, a division of Infogroup
190702 - Samsung Electronics America Inc.
181201 - Network Merchants LLC
180902 - MainStream Merchant Services Inc.
180801 - Century Business Solutions
180502 - Priority Payment Systems Northeast
180501 - Merchant e-Solutions Inc.
180301 - Wirecard North America
180201 - Sysnet Global Solutions Ltd.
171202 - Secure Cryptopayments
171002 - National Benefit Programs LLC
170902 - Frates Insurance & Risk Management
170901 - DCS Holdings Group LLC
170802 - Apogee Payment Systems LLC
170702 - Active Software & Hardware Systems
170701 - Veratad Technologies LLC
170502 - Frontline Processing Corp.
170501 - Platinum Choice Bancard LLC
170201 - Electronic Payments Inc.
161202 - International Bancard Corp.
161201 - CSR Professional Services Inc
161102 - Digitzs Solutions Inc.
161101 - Residual Sheriff LLC.
160801 - DigiPay: Solutions Inc
160702 - CreditCardProcessing.com
160201 - Lead Tracking Systems LLC
151202 - Benseron Information Technologies Inc.
151201 - CardWare International Inc
151101 - Lion Capital Group LLC
150801 - Topcreditcardprocessors.com
150702 - Vision Payment Solutions LLC
150601 - Conformance Technologies
150502 - Global Processing Systems
150402 - Mercantile Processing Inc.
150401 - Field Guide Enterprises
150302 - Signature Card Services
150301 - Premier Payment Systems Inc.
150201 - Humboldt Merchant Services
150102 - Expansion Capital Group LLC
141102 - National Merchants Association
141001 - Instant Credit Manager
140902 - Merchant Cash and Capital LLC
140701 - National Transaction Corporation (NTC)
140601 - Total Merchant Services
140501 - Nationwide Payment Solutions
140501 - BPC Banking Technologies
140301 - Meritus Payment Solutions
140201 - Process Pink Payments LLC
131202 - First American Payment Systems L.P.
131102 - Evo Payments International LLC
131001 - Live Reps Call Center
130901 - Regal Payment Systems LLC
130901 - The Merchant Solutions
130802 - North American Bancard LLC
130801 - Payment Logistics LLC
130702 - Plug n Pay Technologies Inc.
130601 - U.S. Merchant Systems LLC
130402 - National Processing Co.
130202 - Charge Card Systems Inc.
130202 - Layered Technologies Inc.
130102 - Glazer_Kennedy Insiders Circle LLC
121202 - American Microloan LLC
121102 - Keep in Touch Systems Inc.
121102 - Merchants Choice Payment Solutions
121002 - Washington Bancard Merchant Services LLC
120902 - Central Payment Co. LLC
120802 - Royal Merchant Holdings LLC
120801 - National Benefit Programs LLC
120602 - Cardinal Commerce Corp.
120601 - Veritrans Merchant Services LLC
120502 - ExecuTech Lease Group
120502 - The Small Business Authority
120402 - Chargeback Guardian Inc.
120401 - Electronic Payment Exchange
120301 - Complete Merchant Solutions LLC
120201 - CSR - Compliance Solutions and Resources
120102 - Alpha Card Services Inc.
111002 - Lead Source Call Center
111001 - First Annapolis Consulting Inc.
110902 - Point of Sale System Services Inc.
110901 - Sage Payment Solutions
110801 - Century Payments Inc.
110702 - Creative Vision Studio LLC
110702 - Network Merchants Inc.
110701 - Capital Access Network Inc.
110602 - eProcessing Network LLC
110602 - Moneris Solutions Inc.
110502 - Paragon Application Systems Inc.
110401 - Merchant Implementation Services
110301 - FrontStream Payments Inc.
101202 - CheckAlt Payment Solutions
101102 - Impact Payments Recruiting
101101 - Global Electronic Technology Inc.
101002 - TriSource Solutions LLC
100802 - Federated Payment Systems LLC
100801 - Voltage Security Inc.
100601 - NETSURION (formerly Vendor Safe Technologies)
100502 - Transaction Network Services Inc.
100402 - Secure Payment Systems Inc.
100401 - Elite Merchant Solutions
100302 - Retail Decisions Inc.
100102 - Payment Alliance International
091201 - Performance Training Systems Bankcard Boot Camp
091101 - Merchant e-Solutions Inc.
091002 - Whitehall Capital Advisors LLC
090901 - CoCard Marketing Group LLC
090801 - First National Merchant Solutions
090701 - checXchange Money Transfer Systems Inc.
090601 - Sterling Payment Technologies
090502 - Infinity Payment Systems
090501 - Merchant Cash and Capital
090401 - UseMyBank Services Inc.
090401 - Data Delivery Services Inc.
090302 - Velocity Merchant Services
090302 - Metro Merchant Services
090301 - Smart Transaction Systems Inc.
090301 - DCC Merchant Services USA LLC
090202 - TransFirst Holdings Inc.
090201 - ACH Payment Solutions
081202 - Affirmative Technologies Inc.
081201 - On-line Strategies Inc.
081101 - Vision Payment Solutions LLC
081002 - Veratad Technologies LLC
081001 - International Merchant Solutions LLC
080801 - GreenSoft Solutions Inc.
080702 - Smart Circle International
080601 - International Bancard Corp.
080502 - DRG Telemarketing Inc.
080501 - BCC Merchant Solutions
080402 - U.S. Merchant Systems
080401 - Greystone Business Resources Corp.
080302 - Transmedia Payment Services Ltd.
080102 - Sonoma Technical Support Services
071202 - Barclay Square Leasing Inc.
071102 - FirstView Financial LLC
071001 - Sage Payment Solutions
070902 - YourTownMall Business
070901 - Nxgen Payment Services
070802 - All card Processing-AAMonte-USA
070801 - Money Movers of America Inc.
070602 - Central Point Resources Inc.
070601 - Positive Feedback Software LLC
070502 - Premier Payment Systems
070501 - Amacai Information Corp.
070402 - National Bankcard Systems