OTONOMI — Team members interview series. Meet Jeremy Sutton (CTO)
1. Who are you?
My name is Jeremy Sutton, I’m CTO and co-founder of OTONOMI.
A brief history: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, though I spent years of my childhood overseas in both Taiwan and England. I think those years abroad, implanted in diverse cultures, instilled in me different and contrasting perspectives.
After graduating with a BS in Computer Engineering from Pitt, I moved to Boston to grow my software career in one of the biggest tech hubs in the country. It’s there, after 10 years learning all I could at the big tech companies IBM and LogMeIn, that I embarked on the startup journey that is culminating in OTONOMI.
2. Describe yourself with 4 words?
Empathetic, Personable, Inquisitive, Innovative
3. How did you change since you started OTONOMI?
The greatest change for me since starting OTONOMI has been the ability to focus and act on different levels of the business, from tech strategy to writing code to evaluating vendors and services, while knowing what to prioritize and what to pack away (neatly) for later.
I had to acquire this ability, because previously as a software developer, it was very difficult for me to context switch between code and non-code responsibilities. Running a startup has forced me to work out my context-switching muscles, and even more importantly, knowing what I need to prioritize focusing on at any given moment. I need to be able to plan and discuss strategy with the team or investors, evaluate and negotiate with vendors for their data and services, and tackle coding tasks or bugs to help my development team focus on their own planned tasks.
4. Where will you be in 2 years?
I will be leading the engineering force that is delivering easy-to-use, end-to-end parametric insurance policies for a forward-thinking group of insurance businesses. At that point, I will be envisioning how to capitalize on our infrastructure as we launch our own in-house insurance products.
5. What is your vision for the company?
My vision is two-fold: we build an Infrastructure-as-a-Service for parametric insurance (Insurance-as-a-Service, if you will) that can easily create, manage, and pay-out an insurance policy automatically. Using this infrastructure, insurance clients can deploy parametric insurance products to a range of markets: freight, passenger travel, weather, IoT-based device warranties, and more.
As an insurance tech-enabled MGA (Managing General Agent), we use our own infrastructure product to create and deploy our own parametric insurance products using our in-house modeling, risk management, and collateral.
With the freedom to innovate further up the insurance value chain, we leverage our state-of-the-art tech to achieve an edge that our competition lacks. We utilize the blockchain to a greater potential by plugging into decentralized finance protocols to get much higher yields on capital. Decentralized insurance protocols can provide reinsurance capabilities, and we can design parametric policies for blockchain-native events.
6. What Does Success Look Like for the Company?
Success for us means that OTONOMI is an integral part of a diverse group of insurance carriers, brokers, reinsurers, and TPAs through a demonstrated track record of extremely fast, efficient, and transparent operations. That is the catalyst to a successful MGA operation using the same infrastructure that we built for our clients.
With that positioning, we have the ability to go toe-to-toe with other tech-focused insurance companies like Lemonade and Chubb, and potentially become a compelling buy-out opportunity. Either way, we believe that enabling our clients to deliver fast, user-friendly, and affordable insurance products will elevate the entire industry.
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