As the son of a life agent, Dustin Yoder knew from a young age that life insurance is important to any sensible financial plan. So he was surprised to learn that most of his fellow Millennials hadn’t even considered life insurance. Dustin realized the industry had lost touch with today’s buyer, and he saw the opportunity to transform how carriers connect to consumers. To realize his vision, Dustin assembled a diverse team of passionate individuals. Some were insurance veterans, and others were insurance outsiders from tech and creative backgrounds eager to bring a fresh perspective to a legacy industry. After some trial and error, the team’s ingenuity and determination gave birth to Lifetime: the platform that’s transformed the way life and annuity companies around the world sell products and engage their customers.
Sureify is born
Dustin begins exploring business opportunities in the life insurance space, initially hypothesizing that a B2C solution is what’s needed.
The Mint.com of insurance
Sureify attempts to become the Mint.com of insurance: one centralized place for a customer’s insurance policies.
Life insurance learning platform
The value proposition isn’t quite right with the policy aggregator. Sureify hones in on life insurance and determines from research that the next generation of insurance buyers want more clarity on this technical, often opaque financial product. Thus, the life insurance learning platform is developed and tested.
Sureify the MGU
The fact is that no one wakes up in the morning wanting to learn about life insurance. Ease and personalization being the ethos of today’s consumers, they want a product that’s straightforward and tailored to them. So Sureify reorganizes as an MGU with the idea of selling “personalized premium” life insurance based on the buyer’s activity levels.
Lifetime is born: the shift to B2B
The personalized premium turns out to be just one example of the many different ways insurers can bolster customer engagement. This sparks an idea: what if Sureify builds a platform that enables a multitude of consumer engagement initiatives that can be used by an effectively unlimited number of insurers without sacrificing customization?
Guidance and brainstorming at MundiLabs results in the formation of just such a platform: Lifetime.
Folks at Hannover Re North America affirm the B2B approach and enter into a partnership with Sureify. HannoverRe seeks to empower their 100+ North American insurers with Sureify’s Lifetime platform. An accelerated underwriting e-application becomes a cornerstone of Lifetime, with Hannover Re’s Reflex being Sureify’s first rules engine implementation.
Funding from Hannover Re
Sureify conducts its first round of funding; it’s led by Hannover Re.
Sureify signs its first client, a top 10 insurer.
Continued growth and maturity
Sureify continues to gain clients, and its platform keeps improving.
Life and Annuity Ecosystem Passes 10+ Partners
Sureify Moves International
Sureify lands first international customer
Launched Acquire Module
Sureify launched a configurable eApp for any customer, with any product, on any channel
Crossed 10+ Customers
Sureify continues to gain customers and grow
Meet the team
Founder & CEO
Dustin Yoder is an insurtech entrepreneur with a passion for the next generation of insurance sales and policyholder engagement. Dustin was early to insurtech and has been primed to make a splash in the insurance space since his high school days working at the family brokerage. He is one of the few people who goes to sleep thinking about increasing persistency or dreams of insurance innovation.
In pursuit of his passion, Dustin formed Sureify in 2012 to revitalize the life insurance space. Prior to Sureify, he built, and eventually sold, Vendus Product Labs, an enterprise product development company that served clients such as Genentech, Stanford University, and Honda. Now, Dustin wants nothing more than to use his entrepreneurial talent to meaningfully impact the industry his father thrived in.
Dustin has a BA in finance from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He lives with his wife and daughter in San Jose, CA.
Chief Operating Officer
Ryan Swanson is Chief Operating Officer and cofounder of Sureify. Ryan heads up product operations and plays a major role in Sureify’s information security operations. He also assists in client implementations and partner integrations on the engagement/servicing side of Sureify’s platform.
Prior to Sureify, Ryan was Director of Operations for Vendus Product Labs, the enterprise application development company Dustin founded. He was also the co-architect of a job search application.
Ryan graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor of science in commerce and marketing. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys golf, photography, San Jose Sharks games, and is Sureify’s resident food critic.
Chief Technology Officer
Sulu Velugu is the Chief Technology Officer and cofounder of Sureify. Sulu joined the company in 2015 and is responsible for architecting the company’s platform and leading the technical team. He is also a member of the information security team.
Sulu started his career as a software developer at Solivar in 2004. While there, he played multiple roles, including Senior Software Engineer and Software Engineering Lead.
Sulu next joined SaaS Softpro Leaders as the company’s Lead Solutions Architect, where he directed the architecting of a large employee benefits platform. Immediately prior to joining Sureify, he was the CTO at MSR COSMOS.
Sulu attended Andhra University and graduated with a master’s in computer applications.
Chief Financial Officer
David Belgum is Chief Financial Officer and Chief Security Officer at Sureify. David joined the company in 2015 to help raise capital and lay the foundation for growth.
Before joining Sureify, David spent 20 years as a finance leader at several Silicon Valley startups. While he has been involved in life science, semiconductor, and IT services, he keeps finding his way back to software startups, where he has gone through three successful exits.
An area of particular interest for David was understanding how companies create value. This led him into the field of business valuation, where he developed appraisals for financial reporting and tax purposes., He has put the knowledge gained there to good use by driving practices at subsequent companies that resulted in significant increases in value.
David received an MBA from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from San Jose State University. He lives with his wife in San Jose, CA.
Dan Gordon has extensive experience as an insurance technology product leader having led the product management organization at Guidewire for 11 years as they grew from 2 customers with $2M in revenue to 150 customers with $350M in revenue. He also served on Guidewire’s management team, participating in key strategic and operational decisions for the company and was involved in sales deals, customer relationships, M&As, and partnerships. More recently, Dan has served as the Head of Product for startups in big data and in martech. He is responsible for driving company growth plans, working closely with all company departments to ensure that strategic and operational growth plans are aligned and that longer-term efforts get sufficient attention.
Dan has an MBA from Stanford and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale and serves on the board of Made in a Free World, a non-profit working to eradicate modern slavery. He lives in San Carlos, California with his wife and two kids.
Director, Program Management
Kelly Dudley has been with Sureify since 2016. As one of the early employees, she has taken on many roles in the company; always looking at what can be done differently. As Director of Program Management, she enables customers to be successful on Sureify’s product offerings, particularly on the LifetimeEngage platform. As a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate with a pre-law degree, she enjoys using her reasoning and logic skills to asses process improvements. After graduation, Kelly worked at a non-profit (with Sureify CEO Dustin Yoder) and continued in the non-profit sector, working with foster youth for several years.
Kelly resides in San Jose with her husband and two small children, both boys, but is an outdoor enthusiast and can be found camping and hiking whenever possible.
Director, Customer Advisory Services
As Director of the Customer Advisory Services Team, Chad Florke, is responsible for helping drive a customer-centric organization and guide customers to success.
Chad is a strategically agile, certified and client-focused insurance professional with a track record of conceptualizing and implementing robust customer success strategies to achieve long-term organizational success.
He has a solid history of driving team performance and cross-functional synergy to accelerate positive change and an analytical approach to situations to create action plans. Chad has an MBA from Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and a Bachelors in Actuarial Science & Statistics from the University of Northern Iowa.
In his free time Chad is an avid coin collector and golfer. He lives with his wife, 2 beautiful daughters and their dog in Clive, Iowa.
Senior Product Manager
As a Senior Product Manager, Wenwen leads the product development efforts for Sureify’s LifetimeEngage, which allows insurance carriers to build lasting digital relationships with policyholders. Wenwen brings a wealth of knowledge in both insurance and technology to Sureify, having worked at John Hancock, Amazon and a few other startups. Her expertise includes product management, mobile app engagement, and machine learning recommendations to enhance personalization.
Wenwen has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. In her spare time, she enjoys badminton, frisbee and watching cooking shows.
Vice President, Customer Advisory Services
Andrea Hatch is the Director of Customer Implementations & Services at Sureify responsible for the success of the customer. Andrea joined Sureify with over 30 years of experience in the life insurance industry. Previously, she worked as VP of Operations at SelectQuote Insurance Services, Inc. with expertise on business process and customer experience optimization. She graduated from the University of San Francisco where she received a Bachelors of Science in Marketing and holds both Life & Health and Property & Casualty insurance licenses.
Andrea lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband Ken and their four children, Rachel, Kelli, Kenny and Madeline. She spends her spare time working with children in sports and volunteers as a team leader of the Strong Communities Campaign at the YMCA of San Francisco raising money and supporting programs for families in need.
Head of Design
As Sureify’s Head of Design, Anders Houston has a hand in all things graphical at Sureify. Anders was always naturally drawn to visual arts, which led him to the Rhode Island School of Design where he graduated with a BFA in Illustration. After college, Anders moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and there he spent the next eight years honing his design skills at a variety of startups. With a rich background in visual communication and creative problem solving, and experience working in many different industries, Anders brings his unique brand of product design, visual psychology, strategic thinking, and user-centered mentality to the Sureify team.
When Anders isn’t solving design problems, he enjoys hiking through nature, cooking, riding around on his bicycle, or playing board games with friends.
Senior Delivery Manager
Sarah has worked in the IT software development industry for nearly 15 years in markets ranging from Agriculture, Social Media and Healthcare. Sarah is an expert in Agile software development methodologies, has studied the project management framework and uses those concepts to lead highly successful teams producing projects that are on time and on budget. She has a passion for organization and creating repeatable processes. Sarah graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelors in Computer Science. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC.
Vice President, Customer Delivery and Success
Brian LaReau is the Vice President, Customer Delivery and Success at Sureify. Brian is responsible for three key functions – successfully delivering all customer implementation projects; ensuring success and driving adoption of Sureify products for customers; and supporting production customers by meeting or exceeding contracted service level agreements. As a veteran of two successful Silicon Valley startups, Vitria Technology (7 years) and Guidewire Software (almost 13 years), he was a key driver in significantly modernizing and improving profitability of the telecommunications, healthcare, and P&C insurance industries. At Vitria and Guidewire he played similar senior management roles in product development and professional services helping propel them from startup to multi-billion dollar publicly traded entities.
Brian is a 5-year veteran of the US Naval Nuclear Program serving at US Navy and Department of Energy Headquarters. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and a Masters-equivalent in Nuclear Engineering from Bettis Reactor Engineering School (US Navy/DOE). He currently lives with his wife Amy along with two dogs and two cats in Moorpark, CA.
SVP, Customer Implementations and Services
Brian leads Sureify’s customer implementations team and is co-founder of the Lifetime AI Lab. Previously, he worked as SVP of Underwriting Audit at AIG and SVP of Marketing at Mutual of Omaha. Brian’s experience in customer implementations began with serving as the Director of Marketing for Continuum (a global policy admin systems vendor acquired by DXC for $1.4 billion). He also co-founded pioneering paramedical exam startup Force Diagnostics.
Brian frequently writes on insurtech and teaches scaled agile project management classes for companies such as Apple and Oracle several times a year. His agile certifications include CSP, SPC, CSSBB, and PMI-ACP. In 2006, Brian founded and endowed an annual enterprise innovation student writing competition at MIT.
He received a Master of Science in Financial Services from American College (his thesis was on insurers’ CRM systems). Brian holds CLU, ChFC, and FLMI insurance industry designations.
SVP, Sales and Marketing
As the Senior Vice President, Bryan Padgette is responsible for developing Sureify’s clientele, with a focus on growth in North America. Usually the first face a client sees, Bryan is key in introducing Sureify’s platform to insurance executives and identifying critical needs that the platform can help solve. He also uses his charisma and industry insight as a frequent speaker at conferences focused on innovation in insurance.
His more than 15 years of professional experience and leadership have been focused on delivering technology-driven business services and solutions, providing outstanding client service, and driving revenue growth. Before joining Sureify in 2016, Bryan applied his skillset in multiple SaaS companies, including Validic, the world’s leader IoT data delivery.
Bryan attended Elon University, graduating with a dual Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Business Management. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and three children.
Vice President, Digital Experience
As Vice President of Digital Experience, Gotham’s primary focus will be working with customers and Sureify’s product team to assure comprehensive customer-centric tools for configuring and monitoring digital experiences in the Lifetime platform. Gotham has extensive experience leading complex, large-scale transformational programs, architecting complex technical systems, and directing teams to deliver projects with significant impact to the business. He has successfully architected end-to-end innovative solutions to complex business and technical problems. Gotham led and delivered multiple transformational programs related to implementation of Guidewire policy administration, billing, and claims processing. He possesses in-depth knowledge in insurance analytics, data models and financial reporting architectures. Gotham is an innovative thinker and critical problem solver which allows him to identify, analyze, and resolve diverse operational issues, as well as maintain top performance, while offering superior programs/services.
Pooja Rao, Product/Project Manager, graduated with an MS in Engineering Management from San Jose State University in May 2019 and has a background in developing configuration-based ERP software applications. She has 4 years of experience as a software developer and expertise in Project Management. Pooja enjoys identifying opportunities for process improvements and is passionate about innovation.
In addition to her work at Sureify, Pooja is an Indian classical dancer with over 25 years of experience as a performing artist and teacher, and has performed in various productions across the United States. She is also a Junior level vocalist in her spare time, as well as an avid explorer from hiking to traveling to experience other cultures.
Lead Product Manager
Jacob Ruiz leads product at Sureify and has worked alongside CEO Dustin Yoder since 2013. Jacob was instrumental in building the company through its incubation phase, helping to secure the initial revenue. Now, Jacob combines creativity and business acumen to make a product exceeding market expectations.
In the early days of Sureify, Jacob aimed product direction toward digital engagement after identifying it as a critical area of focus for the life insurance industry. The success of the engagement platform led him to expand the scope of Sureify’s platform to digital sales and servicing, two other critical areas he believes are in dire need of modernization.
Jacob first honed his product development skills working with Dustin at Vendus. His projects there included developing healthcare and health insurance related applications for Stanford University and Palo Alto Medical Foundation. He has extensive experience working with design and technical teams, and is the product architect of Sureify’s offerings today.
A graduate of UCLA’s film school, Jacob is a creative at heart and applies his creativity to every aspect of Sureify’s product.
Head of Engineering
17Vijay Thodupunoori is the head of the Engineering team and a cofounder of Sureify Labs. He joined the company in 2014 and is responsible for leading the core engineering team. He started his career as a full-stack developer in 2009 and worked as Senior Software Engineer, Team Lead, Project lead for enterprise software applications and highly experienced in managing a team throughout the lifecycle of a product/project development. Prior to Sureify, Vijay was leading an engineering team at Vendus Product Labs, an enterprise application development company. While there, he led the building of at least ten applications for customers such as Genentech, Stanford University, Sutter Health, and Honda.
Vijay attended the Hyderabad Institute of Technology and Management and graduated with a bachelor’s in electronics and communication.
SVP, Business Development
Greg Yoder is the Senior Vice President of Global Business Development and cofounder of Sureify. Greg’s focus is on developing partnerships with reinsurance companies, consulting firms, core system providers, and other insurtech companies. He is also the primary driver of growth in Europe.
Greg joined Sureify after 35 years in the life insurance, employee benefits, and insurance software industries. Before joining Sureify, Greg spent seasons with CBIZ, The Leavitt Group, Webagencies.com, and Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. In the early 2000’s, Greg was the NAHU Technology Chair.
In addition to his role at Sureify, Greg is active on the board of Silicon Valley Young Life, President of the University of Southern California Sigma Nu Holding Corporation, and an active member of San Jose Downtown Rotary Club.
Greg graduated from Santa Clara University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He lives with his wife in San Jose, CA.
Sureify is headquartered in San José, CA with additional offices in Hyderabad, India, Austin, TX, Hartford, CT and Charlotte, NC.
1100 Lincoln Ave
San Jose, CA 95125