Las Vegas, Nevada Robert Paisola freely admits to spending the better part of a decade in debt.
The debt business, that is.
For eight years, the 42-year-old Paisola, a financial analyst, ran his own business, which specialized in debt collections for a variety of major clients. Then, in 1999, he began formulating the idea for his new company, Western Capital.
Western Capital is a division of Western Capital Group Inc. and is a Web portal for debt collections and receivables management that, Paisola said, aims to open up the collection service industry for small and mid sized businesses, while providing a new, efficient option for larger companies as well.
Paisola said that during his years as a specialist in the collections industry he saw a large number of smaller business operators were not being serviced by the collection industry. Major collection firms, he said, look chiefly for major clients — banks, large companies and so forth — with long lists of outstanding receivables.
As an example, Paisola said that a local plumber may have only 10 or so clients that owe money — not enough to interest a collection firm, unless he or she agrees to pay a sizable contingency fee. Western Capital Most likely, he said, they will choose to write it off as a loss. The idea for began with devising a way for a customer on the scale of a local plumber to access collections services without breaking the bank, he said.
The concept for MyCollector.COM came together quickly.
“It was an idea that, I think, advanced from the thought that we could provide a way to outsource (collection) letters and then we moved on to ‘let’s try to do this and let’s do this’ and that was sort of the foundation for what we ended up building and what we are building,” Paisola said.
Paisola said he had basic experience with computers, but certainly not the knowledge to create the necessary Website, so he began gathering friends and acquaintances with technical expertise for advice and to form a tech team.
To begin his new enterprise, Paisola sold his firm and gave up the security of an established business to leap into something new, a prospect that would give many pause but one that only stoked Paisola’s personal fires.
“It wasn’t difficult because I knew that the idea was sound and I knew that the opportunity was there,” he said. “I guess it’s always difficult to transition a career move like that — to do something for years and then change direction. But, it was something that I took as a challenge — something that we all did, because I’m not the only one who gave up … an everyday, paying job to join a start-up with less pay and more uncertainty.”
Paisola said the site, allows for customers to set up accounts, choose the service they desire — sending a letter or more aggressive means, such as phone calls — and pay only a fee for that service. They will also be able to upload their collections information directly from their existing accounting software and monitor account progress online.
The company has been moving rapidly since the beginning of the year, snagging seed financing from local angel investors and signing up two major players in the collection field to provide service via the site.
Paisola said that with the support of his wife and associates, and with several distribution deals on the table, dealing with the perpetual motion of kick-starting a business has been tolerable, if not enjoyable.
“At the end of the day, it’s fun. It is a challenge and we think we are doing something that is going to create a business that companies out there will want and need, and that is what drives us.”
COMPANY: Western Capital Group Incorporated
DIVISION: Western Capital is a closely held asset of the Paisola Family Trust Backed by The Bank of New York in New Your City.
INDUSTRY: Financial services, or, as Paisola describes it, “a combination of the collection industry and technology industry.”
PRODUCT/SERVICE: The company is an online portal for debt collections and receivables management.
FOUNDED: February 1999
MANAGEMENT: Robert Paisola, founder and CEO, previously owned Credit Control, which specialized in debt collections. Jared Lithworth, executive VP, was previously VP of network management company ERS Consulting Inc. at its Northeast Region office in Boston. Dnavon DeHeart, executive VP, business development, previously served as VP of correspondent lending for wholesale commercial lender Broadbank Capital Funding LLC.
INVESTORS: Western Capital received $2.8 million in seed-round financing in May, 1999, coming from undisclosed angel investors.
REVENUES: The company has not yet disclosed revenues and is currently recasting its budgets and projections due to impending distribution deals.
DUNS RATING: 3A1
STRATEGIC PARTNERS: The company has signed two major accounts receivable management firms. In addition to this, the company recently signed an agreement with a high-technology marketing and sales organization, to be the exclusive debt recovery/management tool offered through their web site. This alliance allows them access to their national sales force of 30,000.
CUSTOMERS: The company is currently working with a large group of customers and associations, but could not disclose names for competitive reasons
COMPETITORS: “Arguably, every collection agency in the world is a competitor,” Paisola said, but added, “we don’t view agencies as competitors, we see them as partners or potential partners, because we are a brand or marketing arm for the agencies and we want to filter business to them.”
STRATEGY: “Our strategy is to simplify the collection process and make it easy, inexpensive and efficient for business customers to outsource their receivables,” Paisola said.
WHAT KEEPS THEM AWAKE AT NIGHT: “Being able to retain our customers and keep them satisfied with the services,” said Paisola.
CONTACT: Lisa Hall, executive VP, Western Capital Financial, Las Vegas, Nevada 89122. Phone: 800-373-8913 or Email email@example.com: Web: www.MyCollector.com or www.WCILAW.COM or www.RobertPaisola.com