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Health Care Startup Oscar Hires Veteran Google Engineering VP as Its Tech Lead

This unicorn insurance seller has a new CTO.

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Oscar Health, a three-year-old startup that sells health insurance, has always tried to distinguish itself with its tech bona fides. It has a new talking point: The company has hired Alan Warren, a Google VP, as its CTO and SVP of engineering.

Warren will oversee a team of around 55 engineers building the technical architecture for the ambitious New York-based company, which focuses on insurance in markets created by Obamacare legislation. Oscar has some 145,000 members now, but its CEO, Mario Schlosser, has said the aim is to hit a million customers.

Alan Warren, CTO and SVP, Oscar Insurance
Alan Warren, CTO and SVP, Oscar Insurance

A Googler since 2004, Warren most recently led engineering for Google Docs and Drive. Before that, he steered Google’s New York office through its tremendous growth period — it ballooned from 50 engineers to over 3,000. Reliving that growth was part of the reason Warren jumped to Oscar.

“I was starting to get itchy to get into something smaller and take another run at growing another organization like that,” he said.

Warren also worked on Google Health, the search engine’s ill-fated attempt to centralize personal health records. A key limitation to that project, he said, was Google’s inability to access health provider data. As a health care company, Oscar doesn’t face those limitations. The company has built up a series of databases for medical and hospital information, as well as tech tools for its health insurance customers.

The startup has certainly raised like a tech company. It has raked in over $720 million from investors including Google Capital and Peter Thiel, part of a wave of health care startups attracting venture capital interest. It is valued at $2.7 billion.

Warren compared Oscar’s objective to improve the “end user experience” of insurance with Google’s consumer products. He claimed he opted to join Oscar after its execs told him a third of their customers came from referrals. “I have never heard, through my entire life, of someone recommending a health insurance provider,” he said.

Fredrik Nylander, Oscar’s previous CTO, who came from Tumblr, left in the fall. The company reported losses of $105.2 million and net premiums of $127.3 million in 2015.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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