Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Melinda Sherwood were published
in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
August 25, 1999. All rights reserved.
Princeton eCom, Pronto Solutions, eleaders
Other ways to pay bills electronically: Write electronic
checks using your bank’s online service, or, if you deal with one
of the few companies that put their bills online, go to that website
and pay there. A Research Park-based firm, Princeton eCom, has been
doing remote banking and processing for 15 years and it feels it is
in the right place to profit from the online bill paying revolution.
The company was founded as Princeton Telecom by Princeton University
physics professor Donald Licciardello, and Ronald Averett is now
and COO. For such clients as Wells Fargo, Fleet, Meridian, and
Financial Services, Princeton eCom does settlement disbursements and
other number-crunching, paper-shuffling duties.
Now the firm is in the middle of a "quiet period" for its
initial public offering, using the symbol ECOM. Meanwhile it plans
to move to bigger, more expensive headquarters in the Forrestal
From 15,000 square feet at Research Park it will move 100 employees
to 40,000 square feet at 650 College Road. In the past two months
it has added 30 staff members, recruiting both commuters and move-ins
from New York and Philadelphia.
In an interview earlier this spring, Averett said he hoped the IPO
would take place late in the third quarter or early in the fourth
quarter. "The management team has created a great set of services
that we market and now our challenge is to scale the business,"
CheckFree, based in Atlanta, is considered this company’s major
"CheckFree historically has focused on banks and our focus has
been on billers," says Averett. "We feel we are pretty well
positioned to understand what the billers’ needs are, and we believe
in the long term we will compete against CheckFree. But in order to
provide the consumer with an online payment solution, we need to work
together. `Co-opetition’ is the word."
Princeton 08540. Ronald W. Averett, president and COO. 609-924-1244;
fax, 609-924-1096. Home page: http://www.princetonecom.com.
Building 2, Cranbury 08512. W. Edward Hammersla III, president and
CEO. 609-371-3000; fax, 609-371-3001. Home page:
Here is another information technology firm co-founded
by an alumnus of Logic Works, Dean Boyer. With W. Edward Hammersla,
Boyer has figured out how to connect three stakeholders — the
credit card company, the insurance company, and the healthcare
— to efficiently and cost-effectively process medical claims and
The firm, which recently expanded its office space on
Road, would connect the payers, the consumers, and the providers by
consolidating the transactions and synchronizing the payments with
the legacy databases of the payers. The company hopes to test the
system in controlled environments this fall.
Suite 104, Lawrenceville 08648. Jolly Joseph Paily, president.
fax, 609-912-0994. Home page: http://www.prontosol.com.
This computer consulting company plans to grow its own
talent: "We are planning to recruit local talent and train them
in software programming and new technologies and give them
says Jolly Joseph Paily. "It is very difficult to find computer
programmers. We have to keep ourselves open to recruit people from
Pronto offers computer consulting software for E-commerce
systems integration for E-commerce and enterprise resource planning
(ERP), plus Internet and client server applications. Paily and his
wife moved the business from their Plainsboro home to Franklin Corner
Road; there are five employees, including those in Pittsburgh and
Colorado, plus a dozen consultants.
A computer engineer at the University of Bombay, Class of 1991, he
spent five years in technical jobs and then moved to business
He moved to the United States in 1996, first as a founding member
and director of ERP services for a Pittsburgh consulting company,
United Breweries Information and Consulting Services, that went public
in 1997. He joined Pronto as a partner.
"We work with Fortune 500 companies and have one major
client," he says. One of the firm’s E-commerce products, Solec,
integrates with ERP software to make the functions of any business
webcentric. "We extend the capability of ERP software such as
SAP, BAAN, and PeopleSoft," he says, adding that Solec’s
such as CommerceOne and Pandesic, are very complex and expensive.
Out-of-the-box Internet service whet the appetite of
PC buyers last year, but this year, it is companies selling complete
A to Z Web solutions. eLeaders, out of Mineola, New York, for example,
is offering the complete package — ISP, Web hosting, Web design,
and E-mail. eLeaders is setting up "eCenters" in the shops
of retailers that sell everything from computers to advertising, in
effect, weaving a web of Web service providers that spans New York
The newest link in eLeaders chain operation is in Trenton, where
Herring, founder of H&H Computer Systems, has lifted the eLeader sign
above the shop where he has been building computer systems and
for 13 years. "It’s the perfect complement," says Herring,
a former IBM engineer with a BS in engineering from the Agriculture
and Technical State University in North Carolina, Class of 1977.
maintain our identity as H&H business machines; we’ve just added on
the identity of eLeaders. Our clients are going to be handled by a
local company with a national power."
Herring, who builds computer systems, network servers, and high-end
computer work stations, bought into the chain for a large chunk of
change that is supposed to cover the cost of hardware (digital modems,
routers, T1 lines), training for his staff, and all the advertising
and marketing. Rich Mittasch, founder of eLeaders, expects Herring
to earn that back in a matter of a few months.
"He’d probably make that back in about four or five months simply
by selling services to his client base, as well as new products he
could never offer before," says Mittasch, products like Web
hosting, and ISP, all of which come out of the eLeaders central
"If he had to buy the hardware, market it, and hire the people,
if he had to do all that himself, it might be two or three years
he earned it."
Or never, says Mittasch, a former CIO at Olsen Services who holds
a BS in computer science from Adelphi University, Class of 1988.
Internet service Providers (ISP) are bound by two major problems,"
says Mittasch. "One: the technology moves quickly. Two is money.
That’s why most of the technology companies are showing no profits
but record sales. A lot of ISPs that had very good business concepts
were going out of business because the architecture was changing too
Mittasch started eLeaders two-years ago from his parents’ garage and
now has 17 full-time people working out of the Mineola office, where
he shares ownership with Dario Trentini and Rich Morris. Each
owner has put down $20,000 in cash and the rest, a sum of $230,000,
in equity. A 24-hour crew operates all the ISP machines remotely,
but so far, that hasn’t been a problem, says Mittasch. "Since
we’ve streamlined all of our operations we don’t have to run on such
a tight profit margin."
eLeaders can trim away some of the costs that cause other ISPs to
crater by keeping a centralizing advertising and technology corps
that services the franchises, who in turn, service customers that
are already walking through the door. "We’re talking about someone
who has an existing product and client base," Mittasch says of
his "partners." "They don’t have to reinvent the
"Since our clients have to deal with computers in one way or
says Herring, "they send their business our way first. In turn,
any business that H&H does work with may need a web site, so I can
just turn them over to eLeaders." The two companies split the
New clients are not the only thing that eLeaders adds to its portfolio
by opening franchises, however. It also sells its partners’ products
in markets that they couldn’t ordinarily reach. It’s a completely
symbiotic relationship, says Mittasch. "We look for an alliance
where they could benefit from our products and services and we could
theirs," he says. In the case of Herring: "Top line servers
is his forte," says Mittasch. eLeaders is selling them at marked
up prices in New York, using an Intranet that helps each franchise
track and sell the others’ products. eLeaders takes the mark-up as
their own profit. "We’re making alliances with local businesses
that are in the technology field and already made a fair amount of
investment in the technology," he says. "It’s really for
to band together more synergistically."
eLeaders also has an ad firm in its midst. "It’s a great alliance
in that they already talk to big corporations, and they can also
their web media," says Mittasch, who hopes to get friendly with
more companies that serve corporate communications needs, such as
phone installers. The eLeader franchises: Berns Communication in New
York, Folkman and Associates in D.C., Nortech in Atlanta, Sullivan
and Associates in Philadelphia. Mittasch hopes to open new franchises
soon in Florida, Las Vegas, and California. Signing up under the
name and product may revive businesses that, along with the technology
they provide, are at risk of becoming obsolete.
— Melinda Sherwood
Chauncey Herring, president. 609-888-2666; fax, 609-888-3844. Home
Hopewellvalley.com is an example of what we can do,"
says John Whitehurst of Whitehurst Industries, a tenant of the
Straube Center since 1994.
Launched just in January, this community website has cheerful color
photos that load quickly and is significantly better, in design, than
similar sites. It has a healthy string of messages on its Town Hall
chatboard and a nice array of portal links (MSN, the Weather Channel,
Beyond.com, and Movie Finder) that may eventually provide a source
An interesting local authors page lists authors by name and publication,
ranging from Joyce Carol Oates (with photos of her book covers) to
outdoor adventure author (and recently retired Princeton Alumni Weekly
editor) Jim Merritt. Though many links are available to pages concerning
these authors, none are provided, and no other biographical information
is offered. As is the case with many community sites, content is a
challenge. The events page has few listings, and many are out of date.
About a dozen businesses have logged into the commerce section. Jann’s
Sweet Shoppe, for instance, has three pages detailing the many yummy
concoctions for which Hopewell expatriates may be salivating. But
online ordering is not yet available.
Fleet Bank sponsors the Town Hall chatboard here; in the face of two
new "community banks" in the township, is Fleet trying to
prove it is community based? ShopRite is another banner advertiser.
This website has its roots in a company that started in 1994 as Anarchy
Entertainment for online gaming. In the summer of 1998 it switched
focus to consulting on multimedia and Internet development under the
rubric Whitehurst Industries. Its clients vary from mom and pop shops
to custom work for pharmaceutical websites.
"We focus on turnkey packages that can get new clients up to speed
and custom web and multimedia work for clients who want that something
extra," says John Whitehurst.
Meanwhile he, his brother Tim Whitehurst, and Alex Jamieson continue
with Anarchy Entertainment. "We are in the process of acquiring
some games that we will distribute online for from $15 to $50,’ says
All three grew up in Hopewell, where the Whitehursts’ father was an
organic chemist at Mobil, and their mother worked at Educational Testing
Service. John went to Rochester Institute of Technology, Class of
1991, majoring in computer science. After graduation in 1991 he did
a couple of brief stints writing database applications until Tim graduated
from Syracuse in 1992. Jamieson worked for the firm when he was in
high school and graduated from design school in Pasadena last year.
"The idea was to create a web site for all parts of the Hopewell
Valley community in a fun and colorful way, and get it out to people
for free," says Tim. "We’re all connected now."
114 West Franklin Avenue, Pennington 08534. 609-730-0800; fax. Home
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