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Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO

What five words would the team at Haven Technologies use to describe you?

Approachable. Setting the tone as someone who is open is important in setting the right culture. Trustworthy. I think that people who work for me trust that I have their best intention in mind. Caring, transparent. Not always the best communicator, but I try to be open and transparent as to why and when certain things are happening. And for a fifth word…ambitious. Definitely.

You mention culture. What is your approach to building and sustaining it at Haven Technologies?

Investing in our culture was always important to me. I’ve always believed in the power of culture to move people and things—much more than the power of strategies or processes. It’s one of the things that I’m most proud of here. You don’t often get to build a team from the ground up and select people one by one. For us, from the beginning, we were really clear about our values as we brought on new people to the team.

In terms of building a culture, was there a moment early on where you sort of looked around and thought, “Okay, this is working, this is how I hoped it would be”?

That’s a really good question. I don’t think there was one moment, to be honest. In some ways, it’s easy to do it when you’re 20 or 30 people because you’re just so small and informal. I think it was when we hit 100, 150, and it was still working, and people were still excited to be here.

If you could spend one year living anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would say Tel Aviv, Israel. So, I’m Israeli. I was born there. I left when I was two, but I’ve visited there a lot. I love it. It’s an amazing place with great food, beautiful beaches, really vibrant culture, and I would love to just spend a year being there.

What did you wear as a teenager that you thought looked really cool?

My motorcycle jacket. Oh, wow. That was the thing back then. That was the thing in the ‘90s, man.

Like a leather one or…?

Yeah, I had a leather motorcycle jacket in high school that I wore a lot. And it’s funny, because I held on to it for some reason. So it’s hanging in my son’s closet, waiting for him to reach that size, and be in that moment. I couldn’t let it go.

Who would play you in Haven Technologies: The Movie?

I have been told in the past by people that I reminded them of Mark Ruffalo. Who I know very little other than the fact that he played Bruce Banner in the Avengers movies. That sounds pretty great to me, being the good part of the Hulk. The wanderer/searcher guy, that feels about right.

Meet Yaron on LinkedIn >

Aneesha Deshpande, Head of Product Innovation

What brought you to Haven Technologies?

After spending almost a decade in traditional insurance, I had a bit of an existential crisis—I wanted to be doing something meaningful. Insurance is such a great mechanism for societal well being, but I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Haven Technologies helps make insurance easy and more accessible. I was just drawn to their mission. I interviewed with the team and it was an instant connection!

Was there a lightbulb moment when you realized that Haven Technologies was somewhere different and special?

At the height of the pandemic, we helped build the technology to launch a free life insurance product for frontline healthcare workers in three weeks. This is unheard of in the insurance industry space, and I felt so fulfilled being part of a mechanism that was able to give back when it mattered the most.

What’s a common misconception about actuaries?

That we’re these unidimensional anti-social nerds obsessed with our mathematical models. Well, we can be pretty nerdy, and we do love our math, but, especially here at Haven Technologies, we are smart, compassionate, creative humans who want to help make a difference.

Why are you passionate about life insurance?

At the heart of it, insurance helps protect people and their families when they’re hit by bad events outside of their control. With life insurance, you’re able to help reduce income/wealth volatilities for families, and give those left behind a chance for a life of financial dignity.

In your Haven Technologies Slack bio, you describe yourself as an actuarial witch. In your photo, you have a parrot on your shoulder. Please explain.

Haha, just bringing some magic to work—if I told you more I’d have to hex you 😉 As for my friend Iago, we met in Miami and hit it off instantly…once I offered him some peanuts. If only it was that easy with people.

What’s your favorite part of working at Haven Technologies?

It’s definitely the people—there is a special kind of kinship when the people you work with are all hyper focused making a difference for our customers and clients.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to join Haven Technologies?

Bring your passion, your take on doing things the right way and for the right reasons, and you’ll fit right in.

Who would play you in Haven Technologies: The Movie?

You’re making a movie?… Where do I audition??? I’ll bring my pointy hat.

Meet Aneesha on LinkedIn

Todd Rodgers, CTO

What brought you to Haven Technologies?

  1. The opportunity to disrupt a complex, data-intensive industry—in this case to figure out how to really make life insurance available to people in a customer-centric, efficient, and easy way
  2. The ability to build a team from the ground up, creating a supportive and inquisitive culture of respect and positive impact
  3. Working with leading-edge technology to create a large-scale, industry-leading platform.

What is your proudest achievement during your time at Haven Technologies?

Several come to mind. First, the ability to be able to help create the technology for a customer to apply, be underwritten, and have their policy issued all on the same platform is a highlight. Also seeing our company grow to 100 (and then 200, and then 300 and then…) and truly become an entity that delivers huge value not just to our client and the industry but to every customer that goes through our process.

How would you describe your hiring philosophy? What traits do you look for when considering whether to add someone to the Haven Technologies team? Is there anything unexpected?

I weigh both technical ability and positive impact on team culture heavily. On the tech side, I’m generally less focused on specific language expertise and more interested in the ability to think through and solve problems, communicate ideas and thought processes clearly, and a broad expertise in various aspects of software development. On the culture side, I look for individuals who will reinforce our culture of building things that matter and mattering to each other.

Is it true you have a farm? Any favorite things to grow? Anything you’ve been hoping to grow but haven’t yet?

Farm is definitely an overstatement—technically when not in the city I do live in an old barn that is part of what used to be an apple farm. My wife and I do have a vegetable garden — it started as a way of teaching our kids, but we’ve gained an appreciation for what it takes to grow food using organic approaches, such as the importance of soil health and crop rotation. We’ve had successes with tomatoes, corn, okra, and we are continuing to expand and experiment with what grows best in our soil and climate.

If we were to take a peek at your Spotify account, what would be your most-streamed song?

Probably something by Dave Brubeck or Oscar Peterson. In general, I listen to jazz, blues, baroque, and techno (not all at the same time)

What books are on your nightstand right now?

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Pollan, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Lightman, and I’m also rereading Neuromancer by Gibson for probably the eighth time…

Who would play you in Haven Technologies: The Movie?

No idea—in fact, sign me up for audio engineer or lighting designer. That’s what I used to do back in college and am far more comfortable backstage than onstage.

Meet Todd on LinkedIn >

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