Case Study - US Order

Client Situation.

US Order was one of the earliest entrants into the online banking market in 1992. Using a combination of payment, card reader, and smart phone technologies, the company created a device and process that not only facilitated remote banking from home, but also presented a wealth of other opportunities for both application of the technology to other markets and extension of the business process to other technology solutions.

Growing initially from the seed money of core investors, US Order wanted to secure outside private capital from strategic partners instead of more traditional private equity investment sources.

Challenges.

  1. US Order had valuable and unique technology and a wealth of potential applications for that technology, but had not clearly articulated either their company message or the opportunities on which to focus. This included not having a written and comprehensive business plan.

  2. US Order was seeking to raise $20 million but had limited access to a network of appropriate strategic partners offering the right level of financial resources and able to provide the desired business synergies sought.

Lighthouse Role.

  1. Lighthouse recommended the creation of a comprehensive business plan for use both in attracting prospective investors and ultimately in creating a private placement memorandum for securing funding.

  2. Lighthouse led the process to help the company articulate its message and strategy and then developed a business plan document for US Order to communicate the message to potential partners. Lighthouse creatively and successfully helped to boil a complex message, market, and technology down to an easily understood strategy that would be attractive to investors.

  3. After developing the strategy and the business plan, Lighthouse then helped US Order establish contacts and make their case to several large potential strategic partners, including NCR, NEC and Knight Ridder.

Successes.

  1. The company was ultimately able to secure first private equity commitments from several companies and later an acquisition deal for the banking portion of its business from Visa. This eventually led to both the successful establishment of Visa Interactive and the IPO of the remaining part of US Order.

  2. As a direct result of Lighthouse's efforts, US Order successfully secured letter of intent commitments from several sources for approximately $7 million.

  3. After Lighthouse's strategy and business planning work, the company was in a strong position to articulate its message and mission to others - partners, investors, customers, management - which had a direct and positive impact on its ability to raise capital and to run its business.

  4. Given Lighthouse's deep knowledge and understanding of the business and its valuable contribution to US Order's funding and business evolution, Lighthouse continued to be engaged to offer strategic support and guidance to both Visa Interactive and US Order for more than 5 years as well as provided direct support to Visa International.

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