More often than not when we pen down posts talking about the start of a new journey we skip the equation of serendipity that leads us to that road. If I were to console.log my current state it would be:
[INFO]: Super-excited to engineer the next big thing with Plum.
But let us reel back a little and talk about how I got here.
I have been an engineer at heart since a young age. From building games on Unity3D during college or building out products on open-source technology (WebRTC for the curious) at Samsung R&D to finally engineering my startup journey, I have always taken the journey of tinkering the zero to one path. I have been an engineer-CTO-founder for the last 6 years now, having run 2 startups each solving a hardcore tech problem. The latest being Kloudi where we were solving the problem of data silos by building a unified experience and intelligence layer for developers and their engineering tools. Besides being a heavy engineering problem, building a dev-tool company has its own set of unique challenges, as time passed by I exhausted myself financially to sustain building Kloudi further. So I had to make the tough decision of pressing the pause button.
Now here is the thing about re-entering the job market as a founder. You don't seem to get the kick of helping build something unless you really feel that you connect with a problem, vision, and a team. Somewhere deep inside the want for a connection to the problem, the expectation of a culture you can connect with never leaves you. Adding to this, the kick of solving difficult problems through technology was important for me. While I started this journey still reeling from the realization of being an "ex-founder" with every conversation I had with the team at Plum I wanted to be a part of this rocketship and take the journey of building it with Saurabh and Abhishek.
Penning down some of the thoughts below that helped me join the team on this amazing journey.
Insurance, like every other sector, is now on the cusp of being eaten rapidly by software. During the early days of technology-driven innovations in this sector, we saw insurance offerings across various sub-sectors being listed on the internet, like e-commerce of sorts. However, such innovations have just scratched the surface with the penetration of private insurance in the country still being a little less than 10% of the entire population. This is what Saurabh and Abhishek wanted to solve when they started Plum. With humanity moving toward a pandemic-driven world and health services becoming inaccessible and unaffordable every year this is a problem that I could relate with very easily.
During one of my initial conversations with Saurabh, I remember that he mentioned that we have the opportunity to save lives by providing insurance services to small businesses and startups. This kind of stuck with me. Being an entrepreneur myself, health insurance was always a top priority for me but being an early-stage startup, corporate health insurance was neither accessible nor affordable. We could never provide insurance coverage for our team members nor to the founders. I was very curious to see how Plum solved this. Over the course of my discussions with other team members, I realized that Plum can provide accessible coverage for companies with as little as 7 lives ?. This is the kind of impact that I wanted to be a part of.
The entire process of interviewing with companies was a very weird experience for me. Being on the other side of the table after such a long time was very intimidating and nerve-racking, nothing less than the first enterprise sales meeting or the first VC / investor meeting we had during my days at Kloudi. But the experience with Plum felt very different. I went through a bunch of rounds that any company of such scale would have, but with Plum things felt warm and welcoming. My technical round with Rushabh felt more like a get to know each other conversation where both of us connected over the depth of data problems that existed across dev-tools and insurance. My coding round with Saurabh felt like a fun hackathon where I learned about an engineering specification (Hint for the observant) through the course of 1.5 hours.
As I said, this was a very important factor for me personally. Insurance doesn't bring with it the coolness of a Silicon Valley-based email client company or the sexiness of an audio chat social network startup but here again, I was pleasantly surprised with Plum. The depth of engineering that the team has been able to achieve with a very small team is mind-blowing. It was genuinely amazing to see that Plum was looking at policy, benefits, claims, and other such insurance-specific scenarios through the lens of an engineering problem. Whether it was looking at Partnerships through APIs or Insurance Policy-as-Code or even a Headless content management system for corporate insurance, there is nothing that the team isn't currently exploring or building at Plum. Who would want to miss the chance to double down on such efforts?
These 4 aspects pushed me towards taking the jump of joining Plum. I am very excited for this next chapter of my life and I am looking forward to touching the next 10 million lives through Plum. If you feel connected with some of the things that I said or the idea of having an impact on the lives of people we are looking for members to come and join us on this journey. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Nitish_Mehrotra on Twitter.