Evansville native David Romain is president of Romain Tower Inc., a company in Houston that primarily builds, maintains, and upgrades cellphone towers all over the country. At any given time, Romain might have 10 crews working at a cost of $8,000 per crew per week. The corporations that use Romain’s services — Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Ericsson, and T-Mobile are among his clients — usually pay for the work 60 to 90 days after the project has been finished.
That’s all well and good, except that Romain’s crew members are out on the road and can’t afford to wait 60 to 90 days to get paid. Neither can the people who house and feed them. It’s a challenge faced by small businesses more and more since the financial crisis of 2008.
The solution that Romain found came from another Evansville native and former college roommate, Sam Garau. In 2011, Garau said goodbye to his job at Fifth Third Bank, and a few months later, Todd Mazzier left his position as territory manager for Stryker Instruments, to purchase a franchise from Interface Financial Group, which calls itself “North America’s largest alternative funding source for small business.” While IFG provides software and other back-office support, the bulk of the capital is coming directly from Garau and Mazzier. They already have put more than $5 million into the hands of small businesses.
“Mainly, we want to make sure we understand who is paying our client,” Garau says about their guidelines for funding. “If Romain Tower, for example, is buying an invoice from Ericsson, we know that Ericsson is a billion dollar corporation. Once we can verify that Ericsson has approved the invoice, our underwriting can go into place.”
“The people we are financing are cash flow strapped,” adds Mazzier. “They might have all these invoices, but they don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank. That’s where we come in. Our goal is to eventually make these companies bankable, so that in a year or 18 months they can go to their bank and get that line of credit they need, and they move on from us.”
From his Greenway Plaza office in Houston, Romain is able to send out as many as 12 crews at a time. That allows him to run the business near full capacity.
“With our crews costing $5,000 to $10,000 per week, those are big numbers for us,” says Romain. “Bottom line is, without funding, we would not be able to run as many crews.”
For more information about Interface Financial Group, call 1-800-387-0860 or visit interfacefinancial.com.