Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Swapnali Kulkarni

Swapnali Kulkarni was looking for a new role where she could see the impact of her work more clearly, one where things moved a little quicker. Working for a 15,000-person healthcare company, she felt removed from the users implementing her software.

“These projects were elaborate one-year projects that, by the time they went online, you’d have started working on something else. I didn’t really feel like I was making a change. I felt like I was not being seen,” Swapnali said. “I was looking for a smaller company where I’d be able to truly see the impact of my work and grow in my understanding of the customer experience.”

At Metromile, Swapnali’s role is fundamental to the business model, and the ways her contributions add to Metromile’s success are clear.

To provide drivers an insurance quote with Metromile, it helps to know how many miles you drive. But most people don’t know how many miles they drive, so Swapnali helped develop Ride Along™ for drivers who aren’t already Metromile customers.  

“We developed the Ride Along feature for people to get a quote. You just download the app, and it uses the data from a few weeks of your driving to give you an estimate of your monthly insurance cost,” she said. “I joined the company in December of 2019, and Ride Along started development in February 2020. I was more or less the only backend engineer supporting that project until near its release in June of that year. Even the CEO was talking about that feature! People are seeing what I’m working on in a way they didn’t before.”

Not only did she jump headfirst into challenging and high-visibility work, but she was also getting the kind of immediate feedback she’d been searching for.

“The customer experience teams were going out and working with actual customers and coming back with suggestions,” Swapnali said. “They’d suggest tracking slightly different data points, different tweaks we could make to improve the feature; I was getting that feedback almost immediately. It gave me a real sense of ownership.” 

The speed of change, feedback, and improvement at Metromile keep Swapnali on her toes, she said. Engineers can release updates to features as often as every week and get feedback from users immediately.

“That’s something that excites me as an engineer because it keeps me feeling challenged, looking for ways to make the product better.”

The speed and efficiency of product updates keep Metromilers happy and challenged at work, and it directly contributes to a better product and customer experience. Because engineers get user feedback so quickly, they’re able to make real-time improvements to products. 

At Metromile, Swapnali said she feels like a true contributor to her team’s successes. It’s gratifying to know you’ve improved a product in a tangible and measurable way, she said.

“I feel like my team and my projects are a very big pillar of what Metromile is. Potential customers first come in and experience my project. It’s what makes them decide if they want Metromile or not,” she said. “The price of the quote obviously matters, but so does the experience, the quote process. It’s so easy to uninstall an app if you have a bad experience; it’s the small things that can really matter when you have to make a decision. I feel that we’re the face of the company.”