Spotlight On Growth: Mercury Payment Systems

In 2001, Jeff and Marc Katz founded Mercury Payment Systems in Durango, Colorado, In eight years Mercury became one of the five largest non-bank merchant acquirers with well over half a billion transactions per year. From the beginning, Mercury posted triple-digit revenue growth. When Jeff first called The Jana Matthews Group, he said, “Neither my brother or I have ever managed anything larger than 10 people. We’re at 30, we want to keep growing fast, but we want to make sure the ‘wheels don’t come off!’ Can you help us?”

Jana was my guardian angel. She was a catalyst for positive change.

Mercury’s technology is integrated into a variety of point-of-sale systems serving U.S. and Canadian merchants in restaurant, retail, grocery, healthcare and other industries. These systems process billions of dollars of credit card, debit card, and other financial transactions each year. While Marc and Jeff knew how to meet their customers’ need for secure, hassle-free, and faster credit card transactions, neither one knew how to build an organization that could sustain the kind of rapid and continuing growth they envisioned.

After conducting an initial assessment, we found a company with explosive growth potential, a wealth of markets and customers, young and inexperienced employees, and two partners at odds about what was required to sustain rapid growth!

We worked with Jeff and Marc to define the mission, identify changes required to create a culture that could support growth, helped them develop a shared vision for the future, set goals, define strategies, and formalize the hiring process. We organized a Planning Retreat for Mercury’s Executive Team and Department Heads, helped each department develop plans to achieve the company's goals and strategies, and aligned the company. We helped Jeff and Marc learn to measure and communicate progress, then met with the Executive Team on a quarterly basis to discuss deviations from the plan, make adjustments, and reallocate resources, as needed.

We also focused on developing an organization that could sustain rapid growth. Each year every employee took a web-based company assessment. Through the assessment we identified problems that were impeding growth. We analyzed responses and then met with all employees in small groups to discuss the reasons for their ratings and comments. Based on the results, the senior executives made changes and addressed the problems that employees identified, e.g., new communications strategies, new performance appraisal programs, training programs for new managers, and so forth. In addition, we did monthly tele-coaching sessions with Jeff and Marc, each member of the Executive Team, and coached department heads, as needed, to develop their leadership skills.

Three years after we began working with them, Jeff left day-to-day involvement with Mercury to start a new company and Marc took over as CEO. Two years later Marc retired and Matt Taylor, employee #7, was promoted from COO to CEO. Mercury has won many awards including #4 on the list of “Best Companies to Work for in Colorado”, and most recently the RSPA Top Vendor of Excellence Award (payment processing category) and the RSPA Vendor of Excellence Gold Medallion in all categories – the first one ever awarded to a payment processing company. In 2010, Silver Lake, the world’s largest technology private equity investment firm made a strategic investment in Mercury Payment Systems and bought 60% of the company, Silver Lake has investments in Skype, Gartner, Ameritrade, Groupon and other well-known technology companies.

In Their Own Words

Jana was my guardian angel. She was a catalyst for positive change.
Jeff Katz, Chairman, Mercury Payment Systems

Jana not only helped us with what we needed to work on, she made it easier for us to focus on what was important at the time. If we had not found Jana we would not be where we are today.
Marc Katz, (former) CEO, Mercury Payment Systems

The Jana Matthews Group is committed to unlocking the growth potential of each of our clients. Contact us to discuss how we can help you grow your company.