“It will never work.”
It was 2013, and they told me it would never work. I remember wondering how many things we have come to rely on or truly enjoy that wouldn’t have become a reality if others had listened to that same advice in the moments before they decided to create, or build, or service.
If you’ve never gone through a real estate transaction you may not have the level of appreciation for just how frustrating it can be, and those were the shoes I was in prior to buying my first home. I think the idea of Doma (formerly States Title) seeded itself then, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later when I went to refinance, and had to do it all over again, that I really decided something needed to change. How was it possible that this industry had not innovated in over 100 years? Ok, sure, there are computers and email, but that’s not true technology adoption; not by today’s standards.
I had so many questions. What is title insurance? Why did I need to purchase it again (on a refi)? Was I just indemnifying myself against myself? Who was in charge? Who was my primary contact? (The bank? My real estate agent? Someone at the title company?) Why did the process take so long? How come they’ve asked me for the same document about 10 different times?! And, I knew as the homeowner in this transaction, I wasn’t the only one frustrated.
And so I started Doma in 2016 with the goal of reimagining the entire process of closing a real estate transaction; to use technology to make closing on a home an instant, digital experience. And I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Thankfully for all of us, I did three things right. The first was not listening to everyone who told me it wouldn’t work (and that was quite a few different people). The second was hiring an early team who did know what they were doing, specifically across data science, machine learning, and – yes – title and escrow (those people also didn’t listen to the other people telling them it wouldn’t work). And the third was pushing to acquire North American Title Company and North American Title Insurance Company from our investors at Lennar just 2.5 years into the company’s history, enabling the business to scale in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise – from both a geographic perspective and by adding an extremely customer-obsessed group of employees that have added a tremendous amount of value to the combined company.
And so here we are, five years after Doma was founded, celebrating becoming a publicly traded company with much of that same team still teaching me about all the things I don’t know. We’re still getting told it won’t work, occasionally, but we’ve demonstrated very clearly that it has already worked, and there’s a tremendous amount of runway in front of us.
Here are a few of the highlights that stand out to me as I reflect on the past five years:
- 2016: our first “instant” underwriting order, leveraging our proprietary machine learning model
- 2017: expanded our proprietary machine learning models to handle all of title and escrow
- 2019: Closed on the acquisition of NATC and NATIC, and brought ~1000 employees into the fold
- 2020: Persevered through COVID-19, remote working, and wild market conditions to grow revenue, expand with strategic customers, and prove our Doma Intelligence platform value.
- 2021: Officially became one company under one brand – Doma.
On behalf of the entire Doma team I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the incredible work that has been done to allow us to achieve this current milestone of becoming a public company. But I’d be remiss to imply that we’ve reached anything other than a momentous point in our journey – we still have a tremendous amount of opportunity in front of us. So, up we go! I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next five years will look like.