Tucked away in his bedroom on Christmas Day, the teenager is glued to his new PC. Javier Soltero is entranced by the latest PC game. His other gifts are ignored, partly because new technology seems to take forever to reach his home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so when it does, he becomes a hermit for hours, days, even weeks at a time, examining the motherboard, adding in new memory, and hacking around the operating systems.

V12n2 NewoutlookHis self-taught expertise from all of his tinkering helps land him a grant from Carnegie Mellon in 1992. In a computer lab at CMU, he receives his first exposure to email. “The Internet, the web—it wasn’t part of the daily vernacular of everyday people back then,” he recalls. “Email was so cool.”

Fast-forward to today and email has become an integral part of life worldwide. As for Soltero (DC’98), he is still tinkering with technology, more specifically—how to control email, which for so many of us has spun out of control with the piling up of unopened messages on our smartphones.

The solution, he believes, is his Acompli mobile app, which allows users to prioritize incoming emails, integrate calendars, and gain quick access to attachments across platforms.

The app has received positive publicity from The Wall Street Journal and other media as well. The buzz also caught the attention of Microsoft, which recently acquired Soltero’s startup for more than $200 million. Users of Microsoft Outlook are already reaping the benefits of Acompli, as it has been released in Outlook for both iPhone and Android devices.

For Soltero, Acompli is just his latest success story. In 2004, he cofounded Hyperic, which provides systems and server monitoring and management software for web applications on the cloud or on premise. That company was acquired by VMware in 2009 for more than $400 million.

—Lisa Kay Davis (DC’09)