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Clover Health Loses Co-Founder Ahead of Expansion Outside New Jersey

One of the two founders will leave the insurance startup, which is backed by more than $400 million from Silicon Valley investors.

Clover Health, an insurance startup propelled by Silicon Valley money, is losing one of its two founders. The setback comes about six months after an investment that valued the company at more than $1 billion.

Kris Gale told employees last month that he’s stepping away from his role as chief technology officer but will remain an adviser. He didn’t detail a reason for his departure, which he said would be official at the end of January. “Getting to this point took a lot out of me, and because of that, I can better serve Clover as an adviser going forward,” he wrote in a message to staff reviewed by Bloomberg.

Gale started Clover Health in 2014 with Vivek Garipalli aiming to use technology and data to improve preventative health care. The San Francisco company handles health insurance claims and benefits for enrollees in Medicare Advantage, a U.S. government insurance program primarily for seniors. The U.S. pays Clover Health a certain amount per year for each of its customers, and then Clover administers the plan’s benefits to patients. The startup says it relies on data science to find the preventive care strategies that deploy those funds most effectively.

Clover Health is currently available in 15 counties in New Jersey. Next month, it plans to begin servicing parts of Georgia, Texas and Pennsylvania, the company said. The startup has raised more than $400 million from GV, the venture arm of Google’s parent company, and other investors. A funding round in May valued the business at $1.2 billion.

Gale told staff that Clover Health isn’t looking to replace him as CTO. Garipalli, the chief executive officer, praised his outgoing business partner in an emailed statement. “His vision for our technology platform is well underway, and is managed by an experienced and growing team,” Garipalli wrote. “For that reason, he felt this was an opportune time to shift from a full-time role into an advisory role and to focus on other areas of his life.”

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