Capital Thinking Expands Scope of Automation

After four years in the business, CapitalThinking CEO Heather Shively says the business she helped start will begin doing more than just facilitating the closing of commercial mortgages going forward. After moving from an online marketplace to a Web-ready lending system for CRE in late 2000, the company has developed its Bluewire technology to the point that it can now serve more of the industry in more ways, Ms. Shively said.

From the beginning, Bluewire was designed to collect and share data from and between a variety of parties, sources and formats. But instead of limiting this to the complex commercial real estate finance transaction, CapitalThinking is now using this technology to facilitate other processes through what the company calls DMS or Deal Management System.

"We are taking the deal through the whole life of the financial asset, from the moment it comes into an institution," Ms. Shively said.

To CapitalThinking that means helping underwriters evaluate credit, analyzing how traders would move the finished deal and how lawyers and other third parties would be involved, facilitating the close and post-close of the deal and then taking it further to syndication or securitization or into an institution's portfolio.

"We are the vehicle that is integrating all of these functions into one single platform and one single place. That's the core technology," she said.

Ms. Shively says this approach will take Bluewire, the company's technology platform, beyond commercial real estate lending into all forms of corporate and industrial lending. But she stops short of calling the platform an enterprisewide product.

"We don't describe ourselves as an enterprise software company," she said. "Most enterprise software companies are selling (for example) accounting systems or servicing systems, that are going to be common to the entire institution. That's not what we're doing."

What CapitalThinking hopes to do is help its clients integrate Bluewire with its other enterprise systems. "But we've taken it a step further," she adds. "We're going to take that enterprise software - that Bluewire, DMS (Deal Management Software) software - and now we're going to build out specific business applications."

That means CapitalThinking will develop Bluewire-based solutions for specific client needs. In fact, the company has already begun, offering a CMBS application, a portfolio application and a multifamily application.

But perhaps the best part, for CapitalThinking, is that the company is developing these solutions for existing clients at their request, companies like J.P. Morgan, PNC and GE Capital.

"Every single customer we have done an implementation for has come back to us to do more work," Ms. Shively said.

"We are seeing a kind of evolution with our clients, where they are saying, 'this works for this business line, now I'd like to see the application work for a different business line.' So we're absolutely seeing that kind of validation."

That's happening, she says, because in an environment rift with failed dot-coms and mortgage tech firms, Bluewire has delivered on its promise to streamline the commercial lending process.

"We're helping business line managers run their operations more cost-effectively, hopefully allowing them to carry more business across their existing resources, reducing operating costs, helping to improve margins, meeting risk management expectations, without having to compromise the standards of best practices that they've already adopted internally," she said.

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