The recent sale of a local tech company has spawned a consulting practice that lists that same firm among its initial clients.
Former DriveFactor Inc. CFO Joe Herbert has launched Westover Strategic Advisors, a firm aimed at helping small- to medium-size companies with finance, marketing and public relations needs.
Westover Strategic consists of five consultants: three in Richmond, including Herbert, and two in Connecticut.
Herbert, who has 30 years of experience in financial management, said he launched the business in those two markets because he has ties to both. In addition to companies he worked for in New York and Connecticut, Herbert spent the last three years as the senior financial officer for DriveFactor, which was purchased in a $22 million deal in April by Illinois-based CCC Information Services.
DriveFactor produces technologies that help insurers monitor driving behavior to determine policies. The 5-year-old company is included on Westover’s website as one of more than 30 companies the firm has worked with so far.
“They have a need for some finance help right now on a temporary basis, and they know us,” Herbert said. “That was an easy one for us to do, of course – we knew the company, and they knew us.”
Other firms with a local presence that Westover has worked with include Altria, Genworth, Cary Street Partners, SunTrust, Pfizer and ExxonMobil, according to its website.
Recalling his time at DriveFactor, Herbert said he saw a need for smaller companies to be able to retain, and afford, key talent at certain times.
“What I learned along the way is a lot of the smaller to medium-sized companies can’t afford the talent that they need – CFOs, chief marketing officers, heads of HR – but they really need the expertise,” he said. “So after we sold DriveFactor, I left and thought this was a good idea.”
Herbert said Westover provides financial consulting for businesses with revenues ranging from $2 million to $40 million. He said services can vary from bank financing and mergers and acquisitions to helping an owner exit a company.
Other services include marketing and public relations, such as assisting with product launches, customer acquisitions and developing business plans.
“This is a big opportunity for this kind of service here in town, and it’s gotten a lot of favorable reception as we put out the launch,” Herbert said.
Herbert acknowledged other firms, such as The Farheinheit Group and Tatum Mid-Atlantic, that provide similar services in the Richmond market.
While the Connecticut practice is launching simultaneously, Herbert said the company, like himself, is firmly rooted in Richmond. A Richmond native, Herbert named the firm after Westover Plantation, where he said his grandmother was born and raised. He also noted his uncle, William Herbert, was a mayor of Richmond in the 1940s.
“I’ve got a lot of Virginia roots,” he said. “A lot of Richmond ties.”
Described as a “virtual business,” Westover works with clients at their own locations, which Herbert said allows the company to keep overhead costs low and its consulting fees attractive for clients.
Herbert said the company would likely open a physical office as its business grows.