WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Summer has arrived as another season of milestones for Passageways, LLC.
The 4-year-old provider of intranet portals passed the century mark in customers earlier this month and is now launching a hosted version targeted to smaller credit unions and community banks.
Launched in 2003 as a CUSO of Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union, the client list quickly grew to about two dozen in two years, then more than 50 when it bought the Intranet division of its chief competition, Extreme Arts & Sciences in Oregon in 2004.
More functionality and customers were added, including the 100th client, a fellow Hoosier: $748 million Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union in Indianapolis. That signing was immediately followed by four more: $786 million Xerox FCU and $416 million Santa Clara County FCU in California and $382 million Power Financial FCU and Ocala National Bank in Florida.
Passageways co-founders Christopher Beltran and Paroon Chadha hit on the idea of a corporate portal framework--a way for organizations to communicate and collaborate across the enterprise in software modules that could be built upon and customized--while in class together at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.
The university credit union helped launch the enterprise as a CUSO and the growth has been steady since, both in clients and in products.
"The vision we had for our portal solutions has been validated, with more than 100 organizations now communicating, collaborating and automating their workflow processes with our solutions," says Gail Koehler, a veteran PEFCU executive who serves as president and COO of Passageways.
"We started with just one product, our corporate portal, and have grown our offerings to include multiple portal solutions, numerous modules and applications, a very busy professional services department and now, our hosted portal solution," she says.
Co-founder Chadha, now a company vice president, credits Passageways' early clients for adopting and helping drive the evolution of the company's products as the technology itself moved back from what's often the bleeding edge.
"As financial institutions continue to struggle with an enormous amount of content, information and processes, portals are quickly becoming mainstream in their operations," he says.
Adoption crosses size lines, with 17% of Passageways' client base exceeding $1 billion in assets (including such tech-savvy heavyweights as Pennsylvania State Employees CU and GTE FCU in Tampa), 26% between $500 million and $1 billion, 27% between $250 million and $500 million in assets, and 26% between $100 million and $250 million.
The handful of clients of less than $100 million in assets is expected to grow with the addition of the hosted option. The first customer to commit to the hosted option, Chadha says, is MEMBERS Development Company, a joint enterprise of more than 50 credit unions and CUNA Mutual Group.
Passageways says it expects to continue to add more clients and products as time goes on.
"We intend to build on our success by re-dedicating ourselves to our company mission of 'innovate, connect, grow,'" says co-founder Beltran, also now a Passageways vice president.
"Educating financial institutions on the benefits of portal technology will continue to be our greatest challenge, but as they understand what a portal can do for their operations, we are confident they'll continue to look to us for their solution," Beltran says.