Our Founder

Learn more about the Real Estate Futurist who started Silicon TItle and why he decided to build the most technologically capable title insurance agency in the world.

Nicholas Chavez

CEO, Founder

 

Nic has over 20 years of technology experience, he began his career at 17 years old at Packard Bell and IBM.  He went on to take a technology company public at age 25 and earn a degree in Economics from Harvard University and a graduate degree in Cybersecurity from Brown University.

MY STORY



If you're looking for a clean bio and a stipple headcut for an article, please find both in our press kit.  This is not that.


This is a looooooooong TL;DR version of my story.  So, if you have an interest and a little bit of time, read on.


I'll save you the pain of wading through my early childhood, which was generally awesome due to my fantastic parents and energetic younger brother.  The 80's were epic, full stop.  Nuff said.


The 90's 


To kick things off, here's a picture of me, circa 1993 when I was around fourteen years old, actively trying to upgrade my parents' Packard Bell 486sx 25 MHz computer from 2mb of RAM to 4mb of RAM.  I also installed a CD-ROM that day. 

I won the money to buy the parts buy placing 1st in a speech competiton by performing an original speech that I'd written about Eli Whitney and his cotton gin invention for the American Enterprise Institute.  To this day, that prize money might just be my favorite money I've ever earned and the RAM / CD-ROM upgrade my favorite money I've ever spent. 

 

Packard Bell

In 1996, during the fall of my senior year in high school, my best friend's step dad asked if I'd like to work for Packard Bell.  It was a dream come true, and because I was in the Gifted & Talented class, and they let me "check out" of school during the day to go and pursue "autonomous learning" opportunities.  In 1996, my autonomous learning opportunity was working in the Packard Bell call center in Golden, Colorado.  It was awesome, I got my girlfriend a job in the same building working for Sears Customer Service and put together we had around $600 a week after taxes. 

 

It felt like millions of dollars.  haha.

 

IBM (part one)

Spring of my senior year, word spread around the Packard Bell call center that IBM was opening up a call center for their Global Services division to service their client Lucent Technologies.  I drove to the IBM campus in Boulder and literally asked people coming out of the building how to get hired there and how much money they made (!).

 

Long story short, I didn't need to do that as a recruiter found me through another person that was hired at Packard Bell.  I thought I'd be going to work in Boulder, but instead they asked if I wanted to go to Illinois or New Jersey.  I chose Illinois because it was closer to Colorado and my girlfriend was still in high school there, also her grandma lived a few hours south of Chicago.  Those two reasons seemed like good enough justification to pick a location for a career, so I left school a bit before graduation and moved into my corporate apartment in Naperville, IL; the cool thing was, since I was still 17, IBM paid to have me driven everywhere in a limosuine because I couldn't rent a car.

 

Seems a bit much now, but I thought it was super cool back then.  

 

After a summer in Chicago, IBM moved me back to Colorado and with a $20k loan from my parents, I bought my first house.  I'm sure I bought a title policy but don't remember a thing about it.

 

It was a cool house, we mostly survived off of frozen Totino's pizzas, Little Juan frozen burritos and whatever beer we could scrounge up or get someone to buy for us.  

 

Then, I found out I'd be making a career change and moving to Texas.  We had an epic NYE party that also served as a going-away party.

23 years later I am happy to report that I am still friends with literally every single person whose face can be seen in that picture.

The 2000's 


Shortly after that NYE party, I found out that I would be a dad.  Roughly nine months later, I met one of my very best and oldest friends: Nicko.  In a sense, this made me a teenage dad, but in reality he came about a month after my 20th birthday.  He was and is a joy to spend time with.  He is now older than I was in this picture.


Texas


We moved to Texas after I did a few Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) gigs in Colorado.  I was recruited by Shell Oil Company and they made me an SAP BASIS Administrator.  The income jump was pretty substantial, so I upgraded my car and my house. 

My interest rate was ridiculous because I was a 19 year old kid signing a pretty big mortgage.  Bought my second TItle policy here without even knowing it, I literally went to the title agency to sign my papers.  I didn't even know what a title agency was, I just knew they had comfortable leather chairs and they let me keep the pen I used to sign a two-inch thick stack of documents. 


My real-estate agent, who was essentially the only person I really trusted there said everything was quite normal and title insurance was just to be considered as "closing costs."  No discounts.


Cool.  Signed the docs without really knowing what I was signing.  Sound familiar?


I left Shell Oil Company to move to Accenture.  I believe I was their youngest Managing Consultant ever at that time at 21 years old, I'd be surprised if there has been one younger since but I wouldn't know how to verify this if I wanted to.  Suffice it to say, they worked me pretty hard but I learned a lot and they sent me to work in Switzerland for awhile as a Chief Technical Architect. 


That was super cool, but then 9/11 happened and I was absolutely petrified of flying.  So I took a director-level position with Fujitsu that would keep me a bit more local to Texas.  More money and more exposure to amazing technology.  All good so far.

Back to Colorado

 

Trouble in paradise.  Nicko's mom and I split after she earned her bachelors degree in Texas.  We returned to Colorado together but went our seperate ways upon arriving.

 

Since we were never married, the house was in my name only and I chose to sell it without a realtor.  This selling transaction was literally my very first realization of how powerful a good title company can be.  A couple from San Francisco bought my house off of Craigslist literally sight unseen.  No realtor.  No tour.  Nothing.  Saved 6% in transaction costs, but I still needed to pay for title; so I dug my old title policy out of the attic and called the number to the office with the nice leather chairs on the cover, and they said they would "take care of it."

 

Incredible.  I never met the SF couple that bought the house, because the title company did all of the paperwork for both sides and I walked out of there with a check that contained all of my equity.  I finally had a good idea what title companies did, they look out for the people buying and selling their house.  They make sure all the details are straight.

My First Startup

 

Anyway, I put the equity from the house into my first startup , which was essentially Uber two years before Uber started.  I started it with my cousin and hired a very impressive attorney who was a co-founder of a well known music startup to be the COO.  I lived with my former fiancee who was supportive of the venture.  Here's a picture of 23 year old me in what I thought were big-boy CEO clothes.  

That startup eventually had operations in 52 U.S. cities and needed a more mature CEO with an MBA to run it.  I won't say that my departure was a friendly one, think Steve Jobs and John Scully.  In retrospect, it was probably for the best; but we could have been Uber if we all played together nicely.  After all, we had a massive 24 month head start.

 

Oh well.  I decided to take my new found freedom and do two things, buy the Ferrari that I wanted since I was five years old and start a new startup.

Ferrari & Going Public

 

Some people will call a Ferrari a "toy" or will deride it as a poor investment.  Thinking about the car itself, had I kept it, I could easily sell it for nearly triple what I paid for it; but that wasn't the real return on investment for owning it.

 

It was a 1984 Ferrari 308 Quattrovalve, eurospec.  It was probably what was then referred to as a "grey market" car, but I didn't care.  It was sublime and exactly what I'd always wanted since I saw Magnum P.I. and National Lampoon's Vacation.

 

Owning the car brought me into some interesting circles and I met my first venture capitalist at a BBQ.  He took interest in the type of consulting that I was doing in a technology that was rapidly being adopted:  Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

 

Long story short, he and I decided to do a deal together and he took my development-stage consulting company public and gave me a multi-deca-million-dollar net worth in the process.  It was a crazy and wild ride.  The company was acquired by OptimizeRX Corporation and is now publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker OPRX.

 

I took the money and decided that another car and house upgrade were in order.  I also bought my brother an Aston Martin. 

The Beginnings of a Real Family.

 

In 2006, I had my second son, an absolute champion of the highest order named Handsome Mike. 

 

Two years later I met the most beautiful girl I'd ever met who simply laughed and rolled her eyes at my red Ferrari.  She didn't care a lick about money or things, but I could see she cared a lot about my two boys. 

She loved our little crew with all of her heart and we loved her.  Other than my sons' birthdays, I count the the day I married Jes as the luckiest day of all of the very lucky days I've had in my life.

Harvard & The Great Recession

 

You might have noticed Mike's Harvard hoodie in the photo above.  I decided to attend Harvard University for my undergraduate degree in Economics, enrolling in January of 2009.

 

It was then that all hell really broke loose.

 

For the next couple of years, I couldn't buy a win.  It was terrible, I tried everything and lost.  My net worth became a fraction of what it was before.  I sold my Ferrari and the rest of my things to invest into my business and moved out of my mansion and moved into a more modest rental.

 

It was only after trying everything that I went back into consulting and landed a great contract with the United States Department of Defense.  


We moved back to Texas, this time a base in San Antonio and worked on some very interesting technology in the predictive analytics and encryption space.  It was something, but ultimately too little too late.

 

There are parts of this story that are too bleak to tell here that include my involvement in the early days of Bitcoin, failed investments, irritated investors and terrible custody battles.  I'll save you the resultant pity.  The details are truly cringeworthy.

 

If it weren't for my wonderful family, I'd have felt totally and utterly cursed.  Like the BIble's Job, but with even less money.

IBM (Part 2) 

 

The Department of Defense (DoD) contract led me into an interesting technological space in Predictive Analytics using an in-memory database called SAP HANA along with some unstructured data technology via Hadoop and certain areas of machine learning.  IBM had an interest in growing a practice in this area, and took a shot on hiring me in 2013.  I helped grow their practice from $8 million in year one to $149 million in 2015, they promoted me to Associate Partner, but when they made an undeserving peer of mine a full Partner instead of me I left.  (He also left almost immediately after to take an Executive Director position at Deloitte.)

 

Regardless of the way I left, I was fairly pleased with the way IBM treated me and the connections that I made there; after leaving W2 status with IBM, I consulted for them for a few years after on selected engagements while I finished my undergraduate degree at Harvard.

 

I hope you'll forgive the use of the storybook photo frame here, but the 2017 Harvard Commencement was my favorite day that I ever spent with my parents.  They were as happy and as proud as I'd ever seen them, and as excited and giddy as kids on Christmas morning.  This day was 8 years in the making, and totally worth it.


By the end of the ceremony, we'd seen Mark Zuckerberg give the commencement speech (we had the same programming professor) and witnessed honorary doctorates conferred upon James Earl Jones, Dame Judy Dench and John Williams (among other luminaries).


The real unsung hero that day was my wife Jes who literally gave up her ticket so both of my parents could attend together.  That's the type of person she is.

My 2nd Ivy League Adventure

 

In 2018 I took my newly granted Harvard undergraduate degree and my 20 years of experience, most recently in predictive analytics and applied for the Executive Masters in Cybersecurity degree program at Brown University.

 

I was pleasantly surprised when I was accepted, as I was in a class with over two-dozen individuals of incredible repute from employers like the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NASA and the top names in the hedge fund, banking & insurance world. 

Brown Delivers


At Brown, we had a litany of absolutely fantastic speakers from all areas of industry and from the highest levels of the United States Government.  It was not uncommon for us to have a U.S. Congressman or Senator either presenting to or learning alongside our class, and while I haven't done so yet- I am confident I could call any of them and they'd pick up the phone.


Where Harvard was competetive and exuded an excellence at any cost ethos; Brown embodied a spirit of camaraderie, fellowship and joint achievement.  My grades improved in this environment, I'd gone from a 3.1/4.0 in my undergrad to a 3.889/4.0 in my graduate studies when I graduated (from home due to COVID-19) in May 2020.


Jes made the day special and sat right next to me as I "graduated" barefoot in our television room.

Analytics, Cyber & Title Insurance

At Brown we learned that the United States is under constant cyber attack from both rogue nation states and cyber criminals. 

 

One of the most exposed cyber targets was the American Title Insurance Industry.  This started the thought process in my mind of building the world's most technologically advanced title agency.

 

I decided to combine my work in predictive analytics and blockchain at IBM with my applied cybersecurity skill that I'd learned at Brown to create a toolset that could be applied to help Floridians save money on title insurance via a Butler Rebate (made possible, in part, through our technological efficiencies) and stay protected from cyber criminals in the process.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  

If you just scrolled down to the bottom to see if there is a prize for finishing... there isn't. 


But... here's a picture of the Silicon Title mascot:  Moo.