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September 26, 2013

Collaboration software company grows, graduates from Purdue Research Park

Paroon Chadha

Paroon Chadha 
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LAFAYETTE, Ind. and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A collaboration software company founded by two Purdue University alumni has grown and is relocating its headquarters and offices from the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette to Lafayette, Ind.

Paroon Chadha and Christopher Beltran founded Passageways LLC in 2003. Its software is used by community banks, credit unions, hospitals and insurance companies around the world. Chadha is the CEO.

"Christopher and I met at Krannert School of Management, and several Purdue professors mentored us as we started Passageways: Charlene Sullivan, Patrick Duparcq, Joe Pekny and Manu Kalwani," he said. "We won $7,000 in Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition in 2002, and then we received seed capital through Purdue Federal Credit Union, which also became our first customer. Purdue Fed's CEO Bob Falk and Executive Vice President Gail Koehler really understand and support entrepreneurship, and they played significant roles in encouraging us in our startup years. With so much help from this community, Christopher and I resisted moving to Silicon Valley because we had everything we needed right here to build Passageways."

Chadha said Passageways benefited in several ways by being based in Purdue Research Park.

"The Purdue Research Foundation helped with looking for new employees and by providing facilities and media relations, but the biggest benefit is that we had instant credibility being a software technology company based in the Purdue Research Park. The Purdue name is recognized around the world," he said. "We were in the park as it began to flourish, which has allowed us to build local connections. We never felt we were trying to take on the world by ourselves; the whole area has always been on our side, and we are grateful for that."

Passageways also benefited by hiring personnel from among the highly qualified students who graduate from Purdue each year.

"West Lafayette has a tremendous talent pool, which has been our X-factor, I feel. All Purdue entrepreneurs should look into the benefits of this talent pool. There are several Purdue graduates who want to stay in the community for all the right reasons," he said. "West Lafayette and Lafayette also are a sanctuary to do some heads-down innovation, and we had several well-wishers and mentors here who helped us blow past several hurdles a startup usually faces early on."

Strong growth while in the park prompted Chadha to move to Lafayette.

"Our team grew from 25 people to 35 recently, and we plan to add more by the end of 2013," he said. "This growth prompted us to move to downtown Lafayette at the historic Earl and Hatcher Block, 8 N. Third Street. Our new office is expected to be finished in December."

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said downtown Lafayette is a good location for a company like Passageways.

"It's the creative hub not only for art and entertainment, but for entrepreneurs, startups and creative types of all kinds and interests," he said. "With all that Greater Lafayette has to offer, they have made the right choice and they will be an inspiration to other entrepreneurs as we grow the startup community through MatchBOX Coworking Studio and the many efforts by Purdue, Ivy Tech and others. We appreciate their commitment to our community and will help support them as they grow."

Chadha said Passageways' success story is a quintessential Purdue story.

"My colleagues and I will vouch for this community wholeheartedly. Purdue has done so many things right in the last few years that it is a compelling place for anyone considering a startup or even a location for scaling up. Alumni have to come back to town and see the changes that have happened in the past five years," he said. "There is a tremendous energy and momentum that will continue to help companies grow. I can see a future in which several Inc. 500 and even Fortune 500 companies get their start here."

About Passageways LLC

Passageways was founded in 2003 with the vision to "To make the World more Collaborative." Today, we are an industry-leading provider of collaborative portal solutions, including employee intranet portals, board portals and community portals. We continue to impact organizations of all sizes across the United States, Caribbean Islands, Russia and Canada.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park, with four locations across Indiana, has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The parks are home to about 200 companies that employ about 4,000 people and are located in West Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis and New Albany. 

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org  

Source: Paroon Chadha, Passageways LLC, 765-532-3820, paroon@passageways.com