Hippo Makes 6 Senior Technology Appointments, Including First CIO

The homeowners’ insurer has named seasoned leaders to drive its Information Systems, Data Science & Analytics, Cloud Infrastructure, and Engineering Platforms as the Company Scales to Reach Millions More Homes.

(Image source: Hippo homepage.)

Hippo (Palo Alto, Calif.) has announced the appointment of new executives to its technology team lead by CTO Ran Harpaz, including the appointment of Hippo’s first CIO, Klarissa Marenitch.

Klarissa Marenitch, CIO, Hippo.

A Unicorn startup, Hippo describes its mission as modernizing the home insurance process, using advanced technology to identify and address homeowner issues proactively. The company vaunts proprietary policy management, smart home integrations, customer support systems that help identify issues before they arise, and proactive alerts that collectively create an experience centered on the policyholder.

Hippo reports that the newly appointed technology leaders will each be responsible for expanding and enhancing the delivery of Hippo’s technology services to reach specific audience segments across its business, from engineers to employees, to its customers. The insurer provides the following information about each appointee:

  • Klarissa Marenitch, Hippo’s first CIO, will oversee the critical systems that support the productivity and efficiency of Hippo’s fast-growing employee base, including Information Technology, Corporate Technology, Information Security, Business & Insurance Systems, and Employee Productivity. She joins Hippo from her prior role of CIO at fast growing enterprise firm Anaplan. She has led digital transformation and innovation initiatives for companies including Redbox, Sun Microsystems, Kohl’s and Macys.

    Lukasz Strozek, VP, Product Engineering, Hippo.

  • Lukasz Strozek, VP, Product Engineering, will manage Hippo’s B2C, B2B, and Insurance Development teams and work in partnership with the product organization to develop new products that support Hippo’s customers and robust partner network. He joins Hippo from ecommerce payments firm Bolt, where he was VP Engineering. Earlier in his career, Lukasz co-founded an online lending company acquired by digital finance firm, SoFi. He holds a Stanford MBA and is a Harvard graduate.

    Dalit Shahar, VP, Engineering Operations, Hippo.

  • Dalit Shahar, joined Hippo in September 2019 from Globality Inc. and was promoted to the role of VP, Engineering Operations. She will oversee the planning, execution and release processes of Hippo’s engineering operations, as well as the Quality operations. Her team enables better execution across the organization from product to recruiting to facilitate improved collaboration, alignment, and productivity.
  • Mike Gordon, VP, Platform Engineering, Hippo.

    Mike Gordon, joined Hippo in September 2019 and was promoted to the role of VP, Platform Engineering. He will oversee the cloud infrastructure, platform core services, engineering productivity, data platforms, API capabilities and service-oriented-architecture rollout across all of Hippo engineering solutions. Prior to Hippo, Mike spent eight years as a software engineering leader at Google. He is a veteran officer of the U.S. Army and a West Point graduate.

  • Tal Hornstein, CISO, Hippo.

    Tal Hornstein, Hippo’s Chief Security Information Officer (CISO), brings over 25 years of industry experience in multiple security-related startups and tech firms, including five years at Globality Inc. and 13 years with Skybox Security. Tal will be responsible for driving information security strategy and operations for Hippo and scaling Hippo’s information security team, secure cloud infrastructure and development lifecycle, user education, compliance and risk governance. Tal holds a CISSP certification from the International Information Security Certification Consortium (ISC2).

  • Ruben Kogel, Director of Data & Analytics, Hippo.

    Ruben Kogel, Director of Data & Analytics, will oversee a center-of-excellence in data and analytics, and support scaling the company’s data science efforts. He was most recently at Lime where he built and led the company’s data science and analytics team. Ruben holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and a Master’s degree from Stanford.

“We’ve developed Hippo’s technology organization from the ground up to sit at the critical junction of insurance and technology, delivering products and ground-breaking innovation to our industry and our growing customer base,” comments Harpaz, CTO of Hippo. “We’re honored to have an exceptional roster of technology talent and a deep leadership bench, adding Klarissa as our first-ever CIO focused on delivering exceptional employee experiences, along with Dalit & Mike who continuously exceed expectations, and Lukasz, Ruben & Tal, who will strengthen and scale Hippo’s technology capabilities to be as proactive as the home insurance we provide our customers.”

Ran Harpaz, CTO, Hippo.

During the past year, Hippo doubled the size of its employee base and scaled to reach homeowners across 34 states, which the company says drove a deeper focus on the alignment of Hippo’s internal technology infrastructure and systems to support Hippo’s growth and expansion to reach millions more homeowners across the country.

Hippo says its new technology leaders will help to guide the company on its path to the public market, and support its continued growth and innovation in the industry. In March 2021, Hippo announced a definitive business combination agreement with Reinvent Technology Partners Z, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that takes a “Venture Capital at Scale” approach. Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be publicly traded.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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