How Noyo’s Shannon Goggin Is Reshaping Benefits And Insurance With An API Platform

The Crunchbase “Female Founder Series,” is a series of stories, Q&As, and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.

Shannon Goggin is the co-founder and CEO of Noyo, the leading API platform powering the age of connected insurance with a new digital solution for fast, accurate data exchange. After experiencing the frustration of working with the slow, error-prone data infrastructure underlying the insurance industry, Shannon and her co-founder Dennis Lee were spurred to improve health benefits experiences. 

Noyo was created to fundamentally transform insurance by bringing connectivity, ease and reliability to a previously complex industry via the first universal APIs designed specifically for health insurance benefits administration. 

In this Q&A, Goggin shares the experiences that led her to found Noyo, her insights on integrating values and mission into every step of her entrepreneurial journey, and her advice to first-time female founders.

Shannon Goggin headshot
Shannon Goggin, co-founder and CEO of Noyo

Q: What inspired you to start your company? 

I never pictured myself as a tech entrepreneur until I had the opportunity to spend time working at Zenefits during a period of hypergrowth. There, I was a product manager building tools to help small businesses offer insurance to their employees. There was tremendous demand for our product: Finally, a way to manage all the admin work associated with running a business that didn’t rely on paper. 

I quickly realized that the insurance companies we partnered with were painfully behind on technology. Too often, the product experience we could deliver to our customers was throttled by the technical limitations at the insurance companies. It’s an industry that runs on decades-old infrastructure that simply can’t keep up with what consumers expect and deserve today. 

I started obsessing about how to build a modern, API-driven infrastructure for the insurance industry. It’s a technically complex challenge in a rapidly evolving industry with critical importance to people’s access to health care. When I started having actual dreams about insurance APIs, I knew I was ready to commit my career to solving this. Now, I get to spend every day building the tools that will power the age of connected insurance and improve this important financial tool for everyone. 

Q: What is your advice for other female founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys?

Build relationships with other founders at your stage and a few stages ahead of you, and find mentors who have been through it before. These people can help you calibrate what you’re experiencing and give you a fresh perspective. 

It’s always great to find other leaders you admire and learn from them, but ultimately I find the most effective leadership style is the one that’s authentic to you. Embrace the things that are distinctive to you and look for ways to channel those into your business. 

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as the founder of your own company?

Nothing great can be built without a strong foundation. That’s the philosophy underpinning Noyo’s product — powerful infrastructure to enable amazing consumer experiences — and it also shapes how we build the company. 

We have clear vision and conviction around the problem we are solving and who we are solving it for, and that guides our product and strategy at every turn. We ask ourselves how the work we do will improve people’s experience with health insurance; as our product evolves, that will continue to be our North Star. 

It also means we invested early in building a strong, dynamic team. We wanted a culture where people challenge each other to raise the bar and support each other in exploring new possibilities. Building a great team and culture early is one of the things I’m most proud of. 

Q: What is your advice for other first-time entrepreneurs trying to scale their own company?

Ultimately, your company’s success will hinge on your own conviction in your vision, product and company. Lead with that confidence and share it with others. When you have deep conviction and understanding about why you are doing something as much as what you are doing, it becomes a powerful foundation that will guide your team and the decisions you make together. 

Seek out new information and perspectives that will challenge your own assumptions. When you don’t have conviction, this type of feedback can be scary, but when you do, it’s fuel for your growth. If you are too slow to learn and adapt, your company will stall; if you are agile and flexible, your company will be too. 

Listen, learn, understand — then do things your way. As a first-time founder, you’re playing in a game where the rules aren’t written down. To build an enduring company and make lasting impact, you have to learn the game well enough to change it. Question things that seem to have always been done a certain way and don’t be afraid to do things differently. 

Q: How have you integrated your values and mission into your own company structure?

We have three core values that govern how we build our product and serve our customers, but also represent the respect, trust and empathy that is the bedrock of our company structure and culture. We reinforce these across the company. When we meet candidates, interviewers are assigned specific questions designed to test for these values. We celebrate people who exemplify those values to the whole company, and we also consider how well people are living those values in promotion decisions. 

We’re nurturing an environment where people are open and supportive, and celebrate everyone’s individual experiences, personalities and perspectives. It makes for a rewarding work environment and ultimately much better outcomes. 

Q: How did you know you were choosing the right investors? 

We are going after a huge opportunity in an extremely complicated space. I prioritize investors who are not only excited by that, but who are values-aligned on how to build an enduring company that everyone involved is proud of. I look for investors who bring a dynamic set of experiences and who will help us challenge the way things have always been done to build an incredible company our own way.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your experience as a founder so far?

I am proud to come to work every day with a team of ambitious, creative and talented people. We’re making dramatic progress untangling the knots of the health insurance industry with an incredibly special group of people. 

  • Originally published April 27, 2021, updated June 15, 2021