PayTrust, the online billpayment service born in Princeton, has sold its customer base and payment site to Intuit, the provider of popular consumer financial software packages such as Quicken, Quickbooks, and TurboTax. How much Intuit paid was not disclosed.
Milwaukee-based Metavante, which owns PayTrust, retains PayTrust’s technology. Ed McLaughlin, co-founder of Paytrust, continues to work for Metavante and to commute to Milwaukee from his Princeton home. Flint Lane, the other co-founder of Paytrust, has a 25-person firm at Windsor Industrial Park, Billtrust, which offers automated invoicing and statements for small and medium-sized businesses.
"We believe that with Intuit’s extensive experience in providing direct to consumer personal finance management to a vast customer base, Intuit is the right partner to grow the business, while allowing Metavante to continue providing the total bill management and payment transaction processing," says McLaughlin.
Not only does Intuit own the customer base, it also owns and manages the customer relations. Intuit will provide free phone support around the clock, as opposed to Paytrust’s service, which was for 16 hours a day, says Chip Swearngen, spokesperson for Metavante, which is wholly owned by Marshall & Ilsley Corporation.
Meanwhile Metavante continues to provide transaction processing using the PayTrust technology. Last August, when Intuit launched Quicken 2005, Intuit’s Quicken Bill Pay customers were migrated to the Metavante online bill consolidation platform, which enables users to view, approve, pay, and manage all their bills – both paper and electronic – from a single Web site.
Quicken is not the only Metavante client that provides its own telephone support. "A number of financial institutions provide their own customer service. We have systems in place to respond quickly to the end users of the products that we provide," says Swearngen.
Paytrust Inc./Metavante (MI), 4900 West Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee 53223. www.paytrust.com
Pam Torkelsen, 43-year-old wife of John Torkelsen and a part owner of Acorn Technology Fund on Vaughn Drive, pleaded guilty on January 28 in U.S. District Court in Washington to interstate transportation of stolen or fraudulently obtained property. With this plea the former owner of an antique shop in South Carolina agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the investigation of alleged theft of more than $1.9 million in company funds.
Acorn Technology Fund was a small business investment company licensed and funded by the Small Business Administration. According to federal prosecutors, Pamela Torkelsen issued checks, wire transfers and other payments for personal benefit to and through a related firm, Princeton Valuation Consultants (PVC), and falsified PVC records so that the payments showed up as salary or shareholder distribution costs. Her maximum sentence would be 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will be later this year.
Meanwhile her husband of 15 years, John Torkelsen, faces numerous charges. A civil complaint alleges that John and his son Leif "engaged in a scheme fraudulently to obtain and misapply $32 million in government funds through the use of several corporations which they controlled, and to funnel at least some of these ill-gotten funds to themselves."
John Torkelsen had been a favorite expert witness for Milberg Weiss attorney William Lerach, the recognized king of shareholder class-action suits. His former company, Princeton Venture Research, provided valuations and appraisals of both public and private companies, primarily for the financing of small technology companies. Torkelsen had funded at least three Princeton firms – Mikros Systems Corp., Princeton Video Image, and VeriVoice. At one point he had 47 people in an office at 5 Vaughn Drive plus an office in San Diego.
The Torkelsen’s 6,000 square-foot home on Library Place was bought for just under $3.5 million at a sheriff’s sale by the holder of the second mortgage.
Finns: Half Go, Half Stay
Metorex, which moved here eight years ago, is one of the few Princeton area companies with manufacturing operations in Finland. Now one of two companies under the Metorex banner, Metorex International, is moving to Chicago, having been bought out on October 1. The other company, Metorex Security Products, which makes metal detectors for airports, continue to occupy the remaining space on Phillips Boulevard.
Metorex Security Products has seven employees selling walkthrough and handheld metal detectors, says Andrea Forconi, marketing director. This division, bought by California-based OSI five years ago, got a boost in 2002 with the increased demand for its heavy-duty airport machines.
Among the products of Metorex Inc. are non-destructive test instruments for alloy analysis. "We can determine identity and the chemistry of any metal in the world," says John Patterson, who is now an employee of the much larger Oxford Instruments, a British public firm with a similar market. Other Metorex products include X-ray fluorescence analyzers and optical emission spectrometers, also for alloy identification and analysis. The U.S. division typically sells 70 instruments a year, ranging in price from $20,000 to $70,000.
Who is in need of these tests? Any company that uses metal, says Patterson, starting with the manufacturer, to the fabricator who is turning it into pipes or beams, to the inspector who wants to know whether the metal meets specifications, to the scrap metal buyer. Refinery fires, Patterson has heard, have been caused by alloys that did not meet specifications: "For construction of a chemical plant, alloys will be closely specified for ruggedness and chemical resistance. It’s a safety issue."
The service center for Metorex Inc. is moving to Elk Grove Village, a suburb of Chicago (800-678-1117 or 847-439-4404). Patterson and another employee are staying here, and three of the six other employees have found jobs elsewhere.
A 1967 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, Patterson has a PhD in analytic chemistry from Purdue and lives in Hamilton with his CPA wife; they have three sons and four grandchildren. "It’s too early to tell, but it could be a lot of fun," says Patterson of his new "office-in-the-home" arrangement. "But I expect to be on the road more than 50 percent of the time."
Metorex Security Products, 250 Phillips Boulevard, Suite 250, Princeton Crossroads at Ewing, Trenton 08618-1425. Carol Shaltis, director. 609-406-9000; fax, 609-530-0842. Home page: www.metorexsecurity.com
Forrestal Village Leases
The Gale Company, aiming to convert much of Princeton Forrestal Village from retail to mixed office use, has signed more than 67,800 square feet at Forrestal Village, including some lease extensions, but many new leases. Greg Lezynski, vice president of marketing, is the company’s in-house leasing representative for Princeton Forrestal Village.
David Kuna, Gale’s senior property manager, says that Gale will retain Main Street, the area from the Westin Hotel to Market Hall, as retail space: "We’ve converted 116,000 square feet from retail to mixed office use – all of Rockingham Row, the first floor of 125 Village Boulevard, the back of 136 Main Street, and the back of 116 Village Boulevard."
Re/Max Greater Princeton, Princeton Dance and Theater Studio, and HeaRX are examples, Kuna says, of the type of business they are looking for. "It has to be the type of business that promotes pedestrian traffic," he says. Doctors and dentists certainly fit that category, and though Kuna has had some inquiries he has not signed any, perhaps because medical offices require extensive tenant improvements.
"It’s the only environment on Route 1 where you can walk out of your office, relax, get a bite to eat, and do some shopping." The Carnegie Center fits that category except for the shopping."
Changes in the master plan, to make it attractive to retailers, include more signage on Route 1 and two more upscale restaurants with liquor licenses. The biggest change, Kuna hopes, will be to install an anchor store. Levin Management is the Village’s retail broker.
Cody Eckert & Associates PA, 191 Clarksville Road, Princeton Junction 08550. Cody Eckert, principal. 609-716-8500; fax, 609-716-8686. Home page: thecodyeckertalliance.com
Cody Eckert has signed a lease for 2,600 square feet on Rockingham Row, which represents an expansion over her current 2,200 square feet on Clarksville Road. Jim Murray of GVA Williams Buschman represented her architectural firm, which includes planning, interior design, design/build, and construction management among its services.
Eckert says she has long hoped to move her business to Forrestal Village, and she needs additional space for her gallery. "I provide artwork for buildings I design, and I am combining my architecture studio into an art gallery," says Eckert. "I will sell my work and other local and nonlocal artists that I like. My clients will come to my office as I’m selecting for them, as I finish their products."
This aspect of the business was generated by a request for art from the president of Rowan University, and another client who took advantage of this service was the Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center. Now she is working with the Tom Healey, the manager at the village’s Westin Hotel, to display work by area artists in Bimi’s, the Japanese-style restaurant formerly known as the Mikado.
Eckert is soliciting artists and says she is looking for "spiritually-styled paintings." For each show there will be a cocktail hour reception.
The move will consolidate her work life and her personal life – she lives in the area and her daughter attends nursery school there. "And I want the accessibility and the amenities for my clients. Once I move in there, life will be perfect," says Eckert.
Patient Marketing Group Inc., 112 Titus Mill Road, Building B, Pennington Office Park, Pennington 08534-4399. Lynn Benzing, president. 609-730-0100; fax, 609-730-0330. Home page: www.patientmarketing.com
Patient Marketing Group, a marketing services firm that was formerly known as Health Answers, will move from 10,000 square feet at Pennington Office Park to 10,209 feet at 155 Village Boulevard. In this lease, the company was represented by Peter Dodds of Garibaldi, Morford & Dodds. It offers marketing, strategies, products, and services for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies, and professional medical associations – patient education and behavior change, and advertising.
Clique Communication, 125 Village Boulevard, Suite 250, Princeton 08540. 609-466-1444; fax, 609-466-9724. Home page: www.cliquecom.com
Clique Communications is moving from Hopewell to the second floor of Rockingham Row. It was represented in the 11,750 square-foot lease by Steve Tolcash of GVA Williams Buschman. A marketing and communications firm that focuses on video conferencing, it has a Video Messenger suite that cost-effectively creates and delivers high-quality video from one PC to another. Its Clique Forum tool is web collaboration team for web conferencing.
North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) , 116 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite 390, Princeton 08540-5731. Michehl R. Gent, president and CEO. 609-452-8060; fax, 609-452-9550. Home page: www.nerc.com
Having grown from 42 to 52 employees last year, NERC has added 2,175 square feet on Village Boulevard for a total of 12,300 feet, Victor Murray of Aegis Property Group represented the electric industry organization that is dedicated to the reliability of the bulk electric systems in North America – it monitors the grid system to prevent blackouts.
Piazza & Associates, 216 Rockingham Row, Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. Frank Piazza, president. 609-786-1100; fax, 609-786-1105.
The affordable housing consultants, specializing in community management, signed a five-year lease on Rockingham Row for 2,000 square feet of office space.
New in Town
Sovereign Investment Company, 116 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite 240, Princeton 08540. Peter M. Mavoides, president and CEO. 609-524-4090; fax, 609-524-4093. Home page: www.sovereigninvestment.com
This private equity real estate firm, which also has an office in Palo Alto, is a subsidiary of the Marcus & Millichap Company. It buys long-term, net-leased restaurant, retail and office/industrial assets.
CEO Peter M. Mavoides is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and has an MBA from the University of Michigan. He has advised over 150 corporations on transactions totaling nearly $2 billion. At a subsidiary of Wells Fargo, he ran sale-leaseback activities, and he had a similar position at Citigroup.
International Fund Services LLC, 136 Village Boulevard, Princeton 08540. Also 12 East 49th Street, 35th Floor, New York 10017, 212-339-2700; fax, 212-517-0366.
A hedge fund management firm signed for 3,725 square feet at 155 Village Boulevard. Hope Brodsky of Newmark Real Estate represented the tenant. This is a back office for the company, which has quarters in New York, Dublin, London, and Luxembourg. Currently nine employees are in temporary quarters at 136 Main Street, but open positions listed on the companies web page range from entry level positions to senior software database developers.
IFS supports global, multi-strategy and multi-currency trading activities across 45 equity markets, 30 bond markets, and the universe of exchange traded and over-the-counter futures, options and currencies. For more than 100 asset management groups it provides trade processing, real time positions and P&L, fund accounting and administration, and financial reporting.
Randstad North America, 127 Village Boulevard, Princeton 08540. Eric Magnuson, agent. 609-716-1122; fax, 609-716-1706. Home page: www.us.randstad.com
The staffing firm that was formerly owned by P.J. Dempsey, Randstad of Princeton, has signed for 2,317 square feet at 125 Village Boulevard. The agency was represented by Karen Anderson of Segal Commercial Real Estate, and this is a five-person office.
In 1984 Dempsey and a business partner founded this office and named it Morgan Mercedes, after the desired objects of each partner. Dempsey hoped to be sufficiently successful to buy a Morgan sailboat. In 1996 she moved to 34 Washington Road and in 1998 she sold the business to Placers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acustaff, which sold it to Randstad. It has had temporary quarters in Piscataway since last September. One of the largest temporary and contract staffing organizations in the world, the Randstad Group leads its market in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and southeastern United States.
Allstate Insurance, 134 Stanhope Street, Princeton 08540. 609-452-2790.
Noto Insurance Advisors, LLC signed a lease for 1,579 square feet on Stanhope Street for an Allstate agency. The tenant was represented by Karen Anderson of Segal Commercial Real Estate.
The Digital Group, 155 Main Street, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite B, Princeton 08540. Ritu Jaikrishnan, president. 609-524-2460; fax, 609-987-8893. Home page: www.thedigitalgroup.com
With an office in Hinjewadu, India, this IT company has particular expertise in Microsoft NET, J2EE, XML and various web services.
Quantiva Inc., 650 College Road East, Suite 1100, Princeton 08540. Al Fink, president and CEO. 609-514-9540; fax, 609-514-8505. Home page: www.quantiva.com
Quantiva moved from 100 Village Boulevard to 650 College Road but retains the same phone and fax. It does performance management systems for Internet businesses – wide area network management services.
Three retail stores at Princeton Forrestal Village closed in January – Bass Shoe left, reportedly because it wasn’t making enough money, but Geoffrey Beene and Dansk left because of broad corporate decisions. Other move-outs:
Consulco Financial Services Group, 925 Harvest Drive, Suite 110, Blue Bell PA 19422. Philip Abramocwicz. 800-431-1500; fax, 609-419-1444.
The headquarters of this firm moved from Princeton Forrestal Village on December 1 and it answers as Alliance. It is a full service accounting and tax preparation firm, doing financial planning, new business start-ups, and bookkeeping.
News America Marketing, 2 Tower Center Boulevard, 20th Floor, East Brunswick 08816. Gavin O’Day, senior account director. 732-509-7000; fax, 732-247-1019.
A marketing office of News America, the publication/broadcasting empire, moved from 125 Village Boulevard to East Brunswick last year.
Covance Inc. (CVD), 206 Carnegie Center, Princeton 08540-6681. Joe Herring, chairman and CEO. 609-452-8550; fax, 609-452-9375. Home page: www.covance.com
Covance reported fourth quarter earnings were up 31 percent from the previous year and full-year earnings were up 26 percent. "Covance’s balanced portfolio of market leading drug development service offerings led us to achieve annual net revenues topping the $1 billion mark for the first time and earnings growth of at least 25 percent for the fourth consecutive year," said CEO Joe Herring in a statement.
Carnegie Center is the corporate headquarters for this comprehensive drug development service company that has operations in 17 countries and 6,900 employees worldwide.
Hopewell Valley Community Bank (HWDY), 4 Route 31 South, Box 999, Pennington 08534. James Hyman, president and CEO. 609-466-2900; fax, 609-730-9144. Home page: www.hvcbonline.com
The community bank announced it will do a 6 for 5 stock split for all shareholders of record as of February 4. Payable on February 18, this move is based on record earnings and strong growth for six consecutive years.
JLT Re Solutions Inc. (JLT), 1009 Lenox Drive, Building Four West, Suite 110, Box 6400, Lawrenceville 08648-6400. John Januszewski, COO. 609-896-0555; fax, 609-896-2666.
Illinois-based Gallagher Re bought some reinsurance brokerage assets in Minnesota and Alabama from JLT Re Solutions Inc. of Lawrenceville. The acquisition includes the addition of several reinsurance professionals. The company was founded by John D. Sayer in 1979.
Barton and Cooney, 300 Richards Road, Burlington 08016. Patrick M. Doyle, owner. 609-747-9300; fax, 609-747-9700. Home page: www.bartoncooney.com
Barton and Cooney, a printing and mailing solutions company, sold its building at 1440 Lower Ferry Road to a health club and moved to 85,000 square feet in a just-renovated building in Burlington. Phone and fax are new. The landlords are Whitesell Builders.
Before it was bought by the mail processing firm, the Lower Ferry Road had been used by Educational Testing Service to store and process its paperwork. Now the building has been renovated for a state-of-the-art health club, PEAC Health and Fitness.