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About Us

Founder Shield is a risk management partner for rapidly evolving, high-growth companies.

benji and carl

Our Mission

Our mission is to create the most seamless, intuitive, and responsive experience for purchasing and administering insurance for your company.

What makes us different?

  • Tech-enabled

    We leverage technology to make the application process intuitive and understandable. A fully digital insurance purchasing process. Less paperwork, fewer problems.

  • Custom-Built

    We take a hands-on approach with our underwriter relationships, training them to understand the startup community’s culture, values, and organizational approach.

  • Lightning-fast

    We automate clerical tasks that plague traditional brokerages, giving us more time to be responsive and alert to clients’ needs regardless of the size of the company.

How it all began...

We launched Founder Shield in late 2012 after our Co-Founder & CEO, Benji Markoff, reflected on his time at a prior venture-backed startup in New York City. At 22 and the most junior team member, Benji was tasked with securing proper insurance for the company.

The idea for Founder Shield came about after his first call with a prospective broker whose first question to Benji was: “let’s start by getting your fax number so I can get you a proper application to fill out.” Benji was baffled by the idea that even in 2010 the insurance industry was relying on antiquated technology. Surrounded by innovation and technology at the heart of a growing venture community in New York, the questions around commercial insurance continued to linger…there must be a better way.

Founder Shield exists to create the most seamless and intuitive insurance purchasing experience for high-growth & rapidly evolving companies. Founder Shield does this in two ways:

  1. We build technology that enhances the customer experience and streamlines back-end processes and paperwork;
  2. We focus our expertise and insurance product development on emerging markets that are primed for growth and innovation (and often overlooked by “traditional” insurance brokers).

Our technology development focuses not only on creating a fully-digital purchasing experience for our customers but also automating the time-consuming, back-office aspects of insurance for our team.

When Benji set out to get the first policy in his pre-Founder Shield days, the brokers he spoke to didn’t care to give him the time of day because the account was too small to justify top-level customer service. These brokers failed to see the opportunity…they simply saw the cost of servicing the account and educating the purchaser, not the limitless potential the company had.

We build technology to make sure that our team has the capacity to provide the highest level of hands-on service and responsiveness to our entire customer base. We enjoy educating our clients and underwriters and consider it an essential part of the insurance purchasing experience.

Furthermore, innovation in insurance does not just come from technology, but from the ability to be creative and innovative when it comes to insurance product design. Our clients are not “plain vanilla” or “one-size-fits-all,” so neither are the insurance products we develop and offer.

We have a passion for this and have been at the forefront of creating and developing innovative risk management products across multiple industries. From cryptocurrency and SaaS, to micromobility and delivery, to SPACS and Cannabis, our deep bench of experts have been able to cultivate unique and proprietary relationships with the underwriting community.

We work hand in hand with our clients and our underwriters to be able to create and provide insurance products that haven’t previously existed. It is this level of innovation that has led to our ongoing growth and industry-leading retention rates.

If all of this speaks to you please feel free to reach out to our team. We are excited to show you the insurance experience of the future.

join team

Join our team

Looking to be a part of a great team that fully believes in ‘work hard play hard’? Do you have a growth mindset, positive personality and thrive working in teams? We’re always on the lookout for talent, check out our open positions.

Our partners

We’re able to focus on bespoke solutions within different industries due to our unique underwriting relationships & collaboration with A-rated carriers.

Lock Lord
RT Specialty
Secure Works

An experienced leadership team who eats, sleeps, & breathes risk management

Our team has 25+ years collective insurance and risk management experience, specializing in high growth, venture-backed businesses

Benji Markoff Founder and CEO sq

Benji Markoff


Benji Markoff is the Co-Founder & CEO of Founder Shield. He has an obsession with culture and the science behind it. He wants his legacy to be the success and positivity that everyone who works at Founder Shield brings to the world whether that is at Founder Shield or in any and all their future endeavors. His hope is that Founder Shield provides a platform for unlimited success and happiness for all that work there.

Carl Niedbala Cofounder and COO

Carl Niedbala


Carl spent the first years of his career in roles across the venture ecosystem.  From venture due diligence at Originate Ventures to growth hacking and modeling for portfolio companies at Dreamit Ventures to M&A negotiations at Pepper Hamilton, he’s seen how companies succeed (and fail) from all angles. When Carl met Benji, he was instantly energized by the possibility of rethinking the way the insurance industry worked through technology, best in class customer service, and cutting-edge marketing and branding.

Jonathan Selby General Manager sq

Johnathan Selby

General Manager

Jonathan spent the first 5 years of his professional insurance career working as a generalist broker at a traditional firm. Intrigued by how technology can be leveraged in the industry, he joined the Founder Shield team in early 2016, and quickly grew into his current leadership role of General Manager.  He works to oversee client strategy and communication and has fostered a culture of providing unparalleled service and risk consulting for some of the fastest-growing companies in the world.

Rachel Jenkins

Customer Success Manager

After launching her career as a management liability underwriter at AIG, she spent several years as a client advisor for the Financial Institution Group at Marsh where she advised on risk management for the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, asset managers & funds. After joining Founder Shield in 2017, she now leads the Customer Success team,  focusing on client advising, improving policy language for venture-backed companies specializing in financial institutions, Ecommerce, and SaaS.

Kyle Jeziorski Broking Manager sq

Kyle Jeziorski

Broking Manager

Kyle is the market-facing leader at Founder Shield. He has been at Founder Shield for 4+ years and in the insurance industry for 9+ years. Prior to Founder Shield, Kyle worked at Marsh on the FINPRO team focusing on management liability in the large private and public space. A graduate of Saint Joseph’s University’s Risk Management and Insurance Program, Kyle has focused his entire career on helping clients to navigate through an ever-changing risk environment.

Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch

Head of Claims and Senior Product Specialist

Jeff wins the “most gray hair award,” with over 25 years of insurance and legal experience. Prior to Founder Shield in 2019, he founded Kissel Hirsch & Wilmer a boutique law firm where he spent over 20 years representing insurance clients, and where he created (and maintains) deep contacts and relationships throughout the industry,  particularly in the London Insurance Market. Jeff heads Founder Shield’s claims team offering his experience to his colleagues and Founder Shield’s clients as well.

Founder Shield

We protect over 25% of the current venture backed ecosystem