Hippo sets up Israel development center

Publication Date26 Aug 2021
AuthorOfir Dor
Hippo began moving forward with its Israel development center in June by appointing Shahaf Shakuf as head of Israel operations. Shakuf previously founded the Israel development center of online education company Chegg. Since June, Hippo's workforce in Israel has grown from 12 to 30 and the company plans hiring dozens of developers, engineers, data scientists and digital marketing staff for its Israel center. At the same time Hippo is seeking permanent offices for its activities in Israel.

Hippo provides home insurance for individuals and apartment management companies in 37 states in the US. One of the company's emphases is a proactive approach to early identification and prevention of flaws and damage to buildings and content by using smart home technology. Hippo's investors include Israeli institutional bodies like Clal Insurance, Psagot, Poalim Capital Markets, and the FINTLV venture capital fund.

Israel is a power in data science"

Hippo has 600 employees at its Palo Alto headquarters and its customer service, sales and marketing center in Austin, Texas. Hippo competes against veteran US insurance companies like Allstate and State Farm as well as newer players like Israeli insurtech company Lemonade (NYSE: LMND), which also provides insurance for homeowners, although its more popular products are for those renting homes.

Earlier this month Hippo began trading on the NYSE after a SPAC merger at a company valuation of $5 billion. As part of the merger Hippo raised $550 million. But since then the company has experienced negative momentum after 83% of the SPAC investors withdrew their money before the merger was completed. Hippo's share price and market cap have since been cut in half to $2.5 billion.

Hippo CTO Ran Harpaz told "Globes," "When you hire engineers in Silicon Valley, you know that you will find employees that come from giant companies like Facebook, Google, Lyft or Netflix. These are engineers who know how to work on large-scale solutions and apply the solutions that have served them in the past. The approach of Israeli engineers is different and they always try to find new solutions that nobody has ever used. I think that the combination of both these approaches will add a lot of value for us."

Shakuf added, "There are areas in which Israel is a power like data science and Hippo faces very large challenges in this field, from giving price quotes to the customer, through predicting snags that can happen and using smart devices to warn before...

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