Step aside, Silicon Valley. Solera’s homegrown Texas technology is stealing your thunder

The Digital Transformation. That’s what historians are going to call the first few decades of the 21st century, when data analytics and automation usher in a new paradigm of communication and change the nature of transactional business. Software tells bankers and brokers which investments are a good bet. Doctors use tablets to send prescriptions straight to the pharmacy while they’re still in the room with patients. And here’s a mind-bender: do you think that customer service agent you’re live chatting with is actually a person?

In 2005, Tony Aquila embarked upon a mission to bring digital transformation to the insurance claims industry. What started with a single software application has evolved into a company that processes 230 million transactions annually, boasts 195,000 customers, and operates in more than 75 countries. And in March of this year, Vista Holdings bought Aquila’s company, Solera, for $6.5 billion.

It’s a jaw-dropping success story, but it makes total sense. Using software automation, Aquila streamlined what had traditionally been one of the most frustrating, complicated processes a driver could experience. A little fender bender could take weeks of hassling with claims adjusters, estimators, and car manufacturers to repair. Solera’s platform brings insurers, OEMs, dealers, SMR industry participants, and drivers together in one digital marketplace where the entire life-cycle of a vehicle can be managed in one place.

Who wouldn’t want to take the headache out of the claims process? No wonder Vista and its partners valued Solera so highly.

That’s just the beginning of how Solera’s digitizing the industry. Today, its platform manages transactions from vehicle purchase to sale, and everything in between, such as electronic titling, real-time valuation, crowd-sourced repair, and consumer loyalty intelligence. The company’s next goal is to leverage its proprietary algorithmic data systems to move into “smart” homes, where it can bring the same levels of transparency, immediacy and control into the residential sector.

One look at its company headquarters on a 12-acre ranch outside of Dallas is enough to convince anyone that innovation runs in Solera’s blood. The company’s innovation center is chock-full of vintage décor, Aquila’s extensive car collection, bonfire pits, and plenty of booze. Here is where the genius happens, where software engineers brainstorm over pool tables and million-dollar ideas are born in the firing range out back. In other words, it’s everything we think a Texas company should be.


Kristy Blackmon