Scott Walchek, CEO and founder of San Ramon, Calif.-based Trv, has been around the technology block. He’s been in the industry for nearly 30 years, working at firms like Macromedia in the ‘80s and Entertainment Arts in the ‘90s. He was a founding investor and served on the board of Baidu, the “Google of China,” and has been involved in several technology startups over the years.
“I’m a died-in-the-wool, caution-averse entrepreneur in the software technology space,” he told Investment Advisor in October.
He’s used that experience to build an application that allows consumers to easily compile information about valuable property they own and store it online.
“There’s a lot of value latent in the information about the things that people currently own and what they’re buying, and no one is doing a satisfactory job of liberating that latent value,” Walchek said. The reason people haven’t been able to capitalize on that information is that it’s been hard to collect.
“At the core of what we do is something we call the ‘personal trov’,” Walchek said. “It’s a cloud-hosted, secure, personal digital locker in which all the information about the things people own is collected, actively managed and then connected to a large and growing ecosphere of partners.”
There are clear applications for Trv in the insurance community, but a trov is not just a list of stuff, Walchek said. After the information is collected, consumers can use it in various ways.
“The real magic happens after we’ve collected it all and it’s actively managed within the personal trov,” Walchek said. “Then we enable these actions, these connections. So it’s collect, value and connect.”
What can clients do with that information? Walchek said that with everything in one place, and with the connections that Trv provides through its partners, users can insure their property or borrow against it. Soon, they’ll be able to sell it. “I’ll be able to maintain it, value it, leverage it, donate it. Once all this information is digitally captured and actively managed, a world of opportunity is opened up,” Walchek said.
Anyone can use Trv, but Walchek acknowledged it’ll be most valuable to high-net-worth consumers.
“Like all emerging technologies, it’s really funded by the wealthy,” Walchek said of Trv. “In our case it’s particularly important that we target the high-net-worth because the value proposition of understanding what I own and what’s it worth today is really best associated with those who are the most acquisitive.”
There’s a big audience, too. Walchek estimates there are about 30 million high-net-worth people around the world, and he has plans to bring Trv to a wider audience over time. “We believe that there are 400 million people worldwide who can take advantage of the trov, and we will make it a mass-adopted opportunity in the future.”
Walchek noted there are two main channels that service the wealth of those high-net-worth, acquisitive users: “One is the P&C insurance space, which is asset protection, and the other is the wealth management space. For the wealth managers, we complete the picture of wealth.”
By that, Walchek means a trov can provide a full and accurate representation of where a client’s wealth lies: not just in investable assets, but in real estate, jewelry and other personal property.