How the Right Environment Catalyzes Growth: Pineapple’s Experience in Hartford

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Luke Bronin
City of Hartford, CT, Mayor
Beth Maerz
Travelers, SVP, Customer, Strategy and Innovation

Beth Maerz is Senior Vice President of Platform, Customer Experience and Innovation for Personal Insurance, leading the strategy on new business capabilities and innovation efforts. Recognized as a thought leader and global partner to InsurTech startups, Beth’s work has influenced transformative change across the insurance industry since she joined Travelers in 2005. Through an ever-expanding network of influencers, she helps identify and explore new areas where Travelers can innovate to meet the future needs of customers and agents. Her work has helped Travelers establish Hartford’s InsurTech Hub, deliver its first true millennial product, its first venture with Amazon and a visionary partnership to plant more than a million trees with American Forests. Prior to Travelers, Beth held leadership positions with a variety of marketing and management consulting firms. She served as Vice President of Darwin Partners’ Solutions Group, and developed the pharmaceutical marketing consulting practice at Epsilon, a leading data-driven marketing services firm. Beth holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Boston University.

Matthew Elan-Smith
Pineapple, Co-Founder

Matthew Elan Smith is 27 years old and has formal training in Actuarial Science and Statistics. He gained experience in the insurance space prior to starting Pineapple (a top 100 Insurtech) at age 25. Just two years later, Matthew received the designation of being included in the Forbes top 30 under 30 list among other accolades. Matthew has always had an entrepreneurial spirit which stems from his broad range of interests, highly curios nature and first principles thinking process. He has a love for technology and enjoys keeping up with the latest developments as well as gaining an intimate understanding of how things work.  A futurist at heart, Matthew spends a lot of his time understanding new trends to paint a picture of where the world may be in 10-20-50 years’ time.  Combining these traits makes Matthew a unique problem solver, a quality which has assisted him greatly in taking on insurance at Pineapple.

Douglas Roth
Connecticut Innovations, Managing Director

Douglas Roth is a Managing Director, Venture Capital Investments at Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies and the state’s most active early-stage investor. At CI, Douglas is responsible for sourcing new investment opportunities, serving on the boards of portfolio companies, and supporting their growth and success. Before joining CI, Douglas gained extensive experience with early-stage businesses as both an operator and advisor. He founded a consulting firm to assist early-stage companies identify and assess growth opportunities, generate sustainable revenue and manage intellectual property. As a senior consultant at a boutique management consulting firm, Douglas was a strategic advisor to companies in the software, telecommunications, IT, and medical device industries. He advised investors of early-stage businesses, representing more than $250 million in invested capital. Earlier in his career, Douglas spent more than a decade as an operator in the telecommunications industry, primarily focused on building international voice, data and IP networks. Douglas earned his BA, magna cum laude, in Economics and Mathematics from Boston University, and his MS in Electrical Engineering also from Boston University. He received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Entrepreneurial and Strategic Management, where he was the commencement speaker. Douglas is a competitive distance runner and avid backpacker. He lives in Manchester, CT with his wife and two children.


Over the last three years, Hartford Connecticut’s insurance community has come together to create a great environment for InsurTechs. Partnerships between leading insurance carriers, higher education institutions, and investors, as well as a growing pool of dedicated mentors makes it an ideal spot for growing companies to get the resources they need to succeed. This panel will share more information about how Hartford’s InsurTech ecosystem is evolving, and how startups, carriers, and investors can benefit from working together to achieve their goals.