Assembling Your Symphonic “Dream” Team
I know that when lenders think about Capsilon, they think of it as a digital document management company. Little do many know that over the last several years, Capsilon has been stealthy developing a streamlined series of product solutions that together will deliver an end-to-end digital mortgage. With the shifting of its product offering from a single solution to a comprehensive service, the company has evolved to a point where a new approach was needed to take it to the next level.
Less than a year ago, I joined Capsilon as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, I was charged with fundamentally transforming the business to accelerate growth, expand lending partnerships and further tech innovation. While I have over twenty years of experience in a variety of roles leading enterprise SaaS companies and was most recently a General Manager at Oracle, I realized, as much as I was ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in, I couldn’t do this job on my own.
I needed a “dream” team, and fast.
Building a leadership team is a little bit like staffing a symphony. For the orchestra to perform optimally, each performer needs to be in sync with the music, the conductor and each other. One instrumental section cannot be more dominant or take attention away from another and each musician needs to practice on their own time so that when they come together they can create beautiful music.
Often musicians have been playing together for years, so they are comfortable with each other. The conductor leads the musicians by keeping time to the music and guiding the transitions, but this can only happen if the conductor trusts musicians to do their job, so that they can do theirs. Too much focus on one section, the “more cowbell” Saturday Night Live sketch with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken comes to mind, and the beautiful music of a symphony turns into a cacophony.
With a focus on scale and growth, our symphony needed to evolve. In 2001, long before the emergence of any FinTech startups, founder and CEO Sanjeev Malaney had the vision to build a company that would leverage technology to automate and streamline the traditional error-prone, time consuming, and outdated mortgage process. A pioneer in the industry, he focused his energies on developing single solution products with the goal that they would one day work together to deliver a comprehensive solution.
The company’s digital mortgage platform is built around Sanjeev’s patented technologies for automated document recognition and data extraction, which has helped make the concept of a paperless mortgage a reality.
As a result, Capsilon was first-to-market with an end-to-end digital mortgage solution that helps lenders save time and money and delivers a better experience for loan officers, correspondent lenders and borrowers, yet few know about it. And while Capsilon’s customers are thrilled with the ability to close loans faster and radically reduce labor costs, the makeup of Capsilon’s existing customer base of the mortgage industry’s most innovative companies, including three of the 10 largest residential mortgage lenders in the United States, makes it imperative that Capsilon’s product technology continue to innovate and scale.
Bringing to market a truly innovative mortgage process that improves both the borrower and loan officer experience from application to closing is a complicated undertaking that requires expertise in a range of disciplines. To optimally build a stellar leadership team, I focused on balancing the expertise and unique strengths of each stakeholder. I looked to hire experts in their fields who I had a history with and who were comfortable not just innovating an industry, but were looking to disrupt it.
To help drive Capsilon’s go-to-market engine, we tapped Ginger Wilcox as SVP of Marketing, and Mark Gordon as SVP of Sales. Ginger, a startup veteran and recognized leader in the mortgage, real estate and technology industries, is responsible for leading marketing, brand positioning and growth for all Capsilon products. Most recently, Ginger was part of the team that launched digital mortgage startup, Sindeo, serving as CMO and Chief Industry Officer, and prior to that she was at Trulia. In addition to deep industry expertise, Ginger has solved some really tough problems for top-performing mortgage, real estate and software companies. She was an early adopter of technology and uses it to drive growth in unconventional ways. Capsilon will benefit from her deep understanding of the borrower journey and the pain points that impact the mortgage process combined with her cutting-edge approach to marketing and growth. And, of course it helps that she is one of the most-connected people in the housing industry, which enables us to think about partnerships in entirely new ways.
With more than twenty-five years of experience as an enterprise technology sales leader primarily focused on enterprise SaaS solutions, Mark is responsible for managing and developing the sales organization. Prior to joining Capsilon, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Customer Success at iTradeNetwork, where he led sales of enterprise-level SaaS solutions for trading networks and business intelligence. Since joining, Mark has already impacted Capsilon’s bottom line by changing how the sale team interacts with prospective customers, evolving from a product feature focus to a customer-centric mindset and providing the solutions lenders and services need to modernize their mortgage production and servicing operations. As a result, the sales team doubled bookings in less than six months, which we attribute to adding a great coach to an already strong offering and team. Bringing Ginger and Mark together has given us the opportunity to elevate our go-to-market strategy and tell our story in a different way.
When it came to product and engineering, I had a different challenge. I wanted people that Sanjeev could also trust to manage these departments and also help Capsilon continue its transition from a single solution to a complex, multi-layered product suite that could scale to meet the needs of the biggest lenders. Steve Viarengo, SVP Products, and Dimitri Daveynis, SVP Engineering were the perfect combination to lead this effort.
It’s always nice to be able bring the band back together and recruit people you’ve had great experiences working with in the past. I’ve known Steve for 19 years and worked with him for eight years. Early in our careers, we worked together at CommerceOne and later, I had the opportunity to work with Steve at Oracle in his role as VP of Product Management for Oracle’s HCM Cloud. Steve brings deep expertise driving product development and building enterprise software solutions that not only scale, but also delight users. And because we have worked together for so long, we immediately started off hitting the “right notes.” Steve is now responsible for all of Capsilon’s critical product functions.
We had the same challenges with engineering as we did with product. Sanjeev wanted to find someone that could continue to innovate the product and scale the infrastructure, and fortunately, we have found that in Dmitri. Not only does Dmitri have more than two decades of software engineering and technology operations leadership in high-growth SaaS environments, he has the personality and “good guy” traits that Sanjeev can truly trust. Dimitri is responsible for Capsilon’s global engineering team tasked with delivering innovative solutions that accelerate production for large mortgage companies. Prior to joining Capsilon, Dmitri served as Senior Vice president of Engineering and Chief Technical Officer at Quantros, a leading healthcare technology company focused on improving healthcare quality and safety performance. While there, Dmitri built a high quality, scalable and secure platform serving more than 2,000 healthcare facilities and 7,000 retail pharmacies. With this background, Dimitri is well qualified to build a solution that benefits large scale lenders.
As you can see by my highlighting each individual’s background and expertise, a symphonic “dream” team marries a wide range of skills, perspectives, disciplines and expertise. While each has their own sphere of influence, they all must have the right personalities and willingness to work together as a team.
I am happy to say, nearly a year later, that driving Capsilon’s innovation is a seasoned and successful management team with significant mortgage, SaaS and FinTech industry expertise, including top executives from Oracle, IBM, iTradeNetwork, Quantros, Sindeo and Trulia. These accomplished leaders, with diverse educational backgrounds and experiences to guide them, are infusing Capsilon with fresh ideas and new approaches to old problems. I am energized by their willingness to take risks and work together to realize their shared passion of delivering the true end-to-end digital mortgage.
This article was originally published on Progress in Lending on 3/26/2018.