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.
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.
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.
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.
Head of Engineering
Vijay Thodupunoori is Sureify’s Lead Developer and a cofounder of Sureify Labs. Vijay joined the company in 2014 and is responsible for leading the core engineering team.
Prior to Sureify, Vijay was a full stack developer for 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 Hyderabad Institute of Technology and Management and graduated with a bachelor’s in electronics and communication.
Head of Product
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.
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.
SVP Global 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.
Senior Vice President
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.
Head of Customer Implementations
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.
Product Strategist and Executive Advisor
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. Dan also served on Guidewire’s management team, participating in key strategic and operational decisions for the company. Dan 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, and he currently consults insurtech companies.
Dan works with the Sureify team several days each week bringing organization and direction to Sureify’s product.
Dan serves on the board of Made in a Free World, a non-profit working to eradicate modern slavery. Dan has an MBA from Stanford and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale. He lives in San Carlos, California with his wife and two kids.
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.
Executive Advisor & Leadership Coach (India)
Vikram has more than two decades of experience in starting, scaling, and managing the India operations of hi-tech, multinational companies. With his deep background in hi-tech India operations, Vikram was tapped in early 2019 to scale Sureify’s operations in Hydrabad, India.
Vikram started his career at PMC Sierra Inc. in Vancouver, Canada, in 1999. He relocated to Bangalore in 2005 to start PMC’s first India operations, an R&D center. Within 10 years, he’d scaled it to be PMC’s largest R&D center worldwide. In 2016, he setup the India operations of Fivetran Inc, and he continues to serve on its board. He also managed and scaled Microsemi’s India operations, which reached a peak headcount of ~1000 employees.
Vikram has served on the board of the India Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA), and the board of the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC). He is currently a TiE Bangalore charter member and a founding director of the National ESDM (electronic systems design and manufacturing) Technology Research Academy (NETRA).
Vikram holds an MS in electrical engineering from Simon Frasier University, Vancouver, and a master of executive general management from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He holds one U.S. patent and has several conference papers to his credit.
Join the team
We’re a team united by our mission to modernize life insurance, and we have a good time working towards our goal. Want to join us?
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