#WeAreArity: Chris Wiklund
When Mom asks me what it is that I do again, I say…
At Arity, I work with automotive companies to help them add value to their products by improving their consumer value proposition and reducing the total cost of ownership of their vehicles. Arity does that by transforming connected cars data into valuable insights for the car companies and others in the transportation ecosystem. That long winded explanation is probably why my mom has to keep asking me that question!
In your own words, what is Arity?
Arity is an InsurTech start-up, founded by Allstate, but we’re not your typical start-up. A traditional start-up gets seed funding and works hard to develop their idea into reality. At Arity, our seed funding was a decade of driving data and the already-proven data models that predict risk from driving data, plus the hundreds of data scientists and technologists with domain expertise in this space.
My favorite mode of transportation is…
I’ve worked in the automotive industry my entire career, so it surprises people to hear that I’d be so happy if I never had to drive again! I love taking public transportation and Chicago has a great system. For longer trips I’ll take the train, and once I’m close I’ll jump on a shared bike for the rest of the journey.
On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me…
I’m fortunate to have an amazing wife and three very young kids, so you’ll find me spending as much time as possible with them. Our weekend activities changed drastically once kids came along. Cubs games, festivals, and long runs down the lakefront were replaced with splash pads, watering the garden, and watching the latest Disney/Pixar movie for the 15th time.
If you could volunteer for any cause, what would it be? Why?
I like to help the people around me, and that extends into my charity work as well. I support charities that lend a hand to people in the local community who need a little help getting out of hard times. That could be a food bank that helps people make ends meet, a shelter that provides a safe place to sleep, a project that builds low cost homes, or a clinic that helps people fight their addictions. We all need a little help from time to time.
Most people don’t know I…
When I have my headphones in at work, most people are surprised that they’re usually pumping high energy dance music into my ears. Plus, in my free time I love to create mash-ups of different music styles into something unique and interesting… like Anna Kendrick’s character in Pitch Perfect, but without her witty humor.
The theme song of my life is…
That’s way too much to ask of a single song! I’d love to have David Guetta follow me around all day and produce a soundtrack for my life.
Talk to your rideshare driver or silent ride?
I’ll usually spend most of the ride chatting with them. I like to learn about their experiences as a rideshare driver, what works well for them, the problems they encounter, thoughts they have on their experience – I guess I’m always doing market research. My Uber rating is 4.85, so I must not be annoying them too much with my questions.
Would you get in a self-driving car? Why or why not?
I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be invited into several self-driving cars. I’m excited about the promise that self-driving cars bring. As a parent of very young kids, I’d love for self-driving cars to reach mass market adoption by the time my kids get old enough to drive so I don’t have to worry about them getting into an accident late at night.
Favorite innovation pioneer?
Nikola Tesla! The dude invented AC power, radio, and wireless remote control.