Agero Talks Analytics, Acquisitions After $530M Connected-Car Sale

8/22/13Follow @gthuang

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leading up to the recent selloff of its connected car division (which will diminish its headcount and annual revenue, of course, but by how much the company isn’t saying).

“We help our customers at the moment of an accident,” Ferrick says. “That’s our moment of truth.” So what does the future hold, now that Agero is out of the connected-vehicles business? And what will it do with its new cash?

For one thing, Ferrick is looking at new potential acquisition targets. He wouldn’t go into specifics yet—“we have an ability to look at a lot of wider options,” he says—but he hinted at different ways to help insurance companies and auto manufacturers understand their customers better.

In principle, Ferrick says, “you want the next step, whether you’re buying an information services company [or something else], you want that company to be additive to your bandwidth and not take it away as you’re trying to integrate it.” But he cautions that “companies make the most mistakes when they’re flush with cash.” Agero needs to make sure that “the one or two plays we make, which can be fairly significant, are the right ones,” he adds.

It sounds like data analytics is where Agero will be investing in the near term. That includes “our ability to interpret where a customer is in their lifecycle based on their experience before a breakdown plus after,” Ferrick says. “We know the behavior of that customer. What they do with that car after a breakdown or accident becomes really important in the dog-eat-dog world” of insurance companies and automakers.

“It’s one thing to have a lot of data,” he says. “It’s another to have the experience to understand what it means.”

But the company now faces a challenge of outside perceptions. Its ATX acquisition five years ago made “people look at Agero differently, as a cutting-edge technological business,” Ferrick says. “Now that you move that business away, the danger is that people will say, ‘We know who they are, this is the box they’re in.’”

“We’re clearly not just that,” he says. “We aspire to be much more.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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