Yet, in an industry dominated by mega-vendors, it never ceases to amaze the folks at GonzoBanker when an entrepreneur with a sweaty brow and obsessive idea brings something to the market that leaves the big guys flat footed. Such is the case with Ed Viera, a Silicon Valley innovator who heads up Ensenta, the category killer today in consumer remote deposit capture. Since launching its solution, credit unions and community banks have been signing up to offer their customers the ability to scan and deposit paper checks from home PCs and printers. It’s a gritty “mouse that roared” small business story that the team at Cornerstone Advisors could not ignore.
Name: Ed Viera
Official Title: President of Ensenta
Gonzo’s Title: The Disrupter of Consumer Remote Deposit Capture
Alma Matter: Santa Clara University – Go Broncos!
Ed has been a techie entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 30 years. He was an early pioneer in working with advanced function kiosks for the credit union industry. A key aspect of these self-service devices was the ability to make imaged check deposits. In order to address the need for check deposits through kiosks, Ed and fellow developers focused on building a Web-based architecture to support this functionality from the ground up.
In the middle of these development efforts, the now-famous Check 21 law was passed, and the demand for Ed’s domain knowledge skyrocketed.
That “Ah Ha!” Moment
All great entrepreneurs can remember that certain moment when the inspiration for a new product or business occurs. For Ed, it comes back to laying down some early riffs with Ensenta co-founders Jim Ballagh, VP Business Development, and Richard Klein, VP Technology. Most entrepreneurial successes are driven by more than one individual, and this is certainly the case with Ensenta. While Viera provides the leadership and evangelism across the industry, Ballagh leverages his banking experience to drive business development, and Klein heads up development efforts. Viera remembers the upstart days, “We were sitting together discussing what we would do next, and we realized the main competitive disadvantage for credit unions was their lack of a branch infrastructure.” With this problem to fix and Ensenta’s knack for check imaging, an agile development team started conducting focus groups with financial institutions. One of the key concerns of all financial institutions is the risk of fraud or security breaches.
The first Ensenta client to deploy the firm’s consumer remote deposit capture solution was Star One Credit Union, a $5.1 billion institution based in Silicon Valley. To date, 20.7% of the credit union’s home banking users had registered to use the Home Deposit service. For calendar year 2009, Star One processed more than $24M in deposits via the home channel, and it continues to grow.
Things Keeping Ed Busy
Ensenta has been hot lately with its consumer remote offerings, and Ed and his team continue to grow penetration of the product through alliances with industry vendors such as Intuit, Co-Op Financial Services, Open Solutions Inc., and NCR Corp. These industry giants all gain valued expertise and technology from the tiny and innovative Ensenta. Ed says users of Ensenta’s consumer remote check capture solution range $5 million to $40 billion in total assets. While Ensenta started as a credit union and community bank focused institution, its solution is now gaining the attention of larger banks that would rather buy than build this capability for their online banking channel.
The Next Big Thing
According to Ed, the big buzz with remote capture right now is around mobile technology, and he says Ensenta is engaged with most of the mobile banking providers today. He is hoping that Ensenta’s “software as a service” platform, which is exposed via a Web service, will be able to bolt into the apps written for different devices by the mobile providers. This would allow for the functionality made famous by USAA Bank to capture check deposits via mobile PDAs. “The financial institution can target specific risk management policies for the ATM, Web and mobile channels,” Ed concludes. “Each channel carries its own set of risks and challenges.”
Ed’s Claim to Fame Outside of the Office
Ed is a family man who loves playing basketball with his 9-year-old son, Anton – both are stoked about the Lakers’ recent NBA championship. He also has a 14-year old daughter, Tatiana, who gives Ed attention every once in a while between hanging out with friends.
Ed’s Favorite Movie of All Time
The Godfather. His favorite line: “Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me.”
The Most Underrated Rock Album of All Time According to Ed
Santana’s Abraxas – “It’s an incredible piece of work and the fusion of Latin and rock music spoke to me when I was a young and growing up in Milwaukee.”
GonzoBanker recognizes Ed Viera of Ensenta as the GonzoBanker of the Month as well as his co-founders, Jim Ballagh and Rich Klein. In recognition of Ed’s achievement, Cornerstone will donate $250 to the American Diabetes Association.
In a world full of mega companies that can move painfully slowly with new innovation, Gonzo salutes the disruptive team at Ensenta for bringing new strategic capabilities to the community bank and credit union industries.