Andrew Yang (entrepreneur)

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Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang talking about urban entrepreneurship at Techonomy Conference 2015 in Detroit, MI (cropped).jpg
Yang at Techonomy 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.
Born (1975-01-13) January 13, 1975 (age 43)
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater
Notable workThe War on Normal People (2018), Smart People Should Build Things (2014)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Evelyn Yang
AwardsPresidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship (2015), White House Champion of Change (2012)
Andrew Yang signature.jpg

Andrew Yang (born January 13, 1975) is an American entrepreneur, the Founder of Venture for America, and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. He has worked in startups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for nearly two decades. He is the author of Smart People Should Build Things[1] and The War on Normal People, about automation of labor.[2] In Yang's current bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, one of his main campaign goals would be to implement a universal basic income (UBI) for all American citizens between the ages of 18 to 64.

Early life and education[edit]

Yang was born in Schenectady, New York on January 13, 1975, to immigrant parents from Taiwan. His parents met while they were both in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. His father graduated with a Ph.D. in physics and worked in the research labs of IBM and General Electric, generating over 69 patents in his career. His mother graduated with a Master's Degree in Statistics and later became an artist.

Yang attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire. He graduated Exeter in 1992 and went on to attend Brown University[3] earning a Bachelor's of Arts (BA) in Economics.[4] After Brown University, Yang attended Columbia Law School in New York City where he earned a Juris Doctor (JD).[4]


In 1999, after graduating from Columbia Law School, Yang began his career as a corporate attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell. He left the firm in 2000 to launch, a startup that worked to support celebrity-affiliated philanthropy.[5][better source needed] raised capital from investors but later folded in 2001. Afterwards, Yang joined a healthcare software startup MMF Systems, Inc., as its Vice President and third hire.

Manhattan Prep[edit]

After working in the healthcare industry for four years, Yang left MMF Systems, Inc. to join friend Zeke Vanderhoek at a small test preparation company, Manhattan Prep. In 2006, Vanderhoek asked Yang to take over as CEO. While serving as CEO of Manhattan Prep, the company primarily served GMAT test preparation becoming the largest U.S. test prep company reaching $18 million in annual revenue. The company expanded from 5 to 27 locations and was eventually acquired by Kaplan, Inc. in December 2009, at which point Yang served as the company's President through the year 2011.[6][7][8]

Venture for America (VFA)[edit]

Following the acquisition of Manhattan Prep, Yang began to conceive his new company, Venture for America, a non-profit, which he founded in 2011[3] with the mission "to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs."[9]

Venture for America launched in 2011 with $200,000 and sent 40 top graduates to five U.S. cities (Detroit, New Orleans, Providence, Las Vegas, Cincinnati).[8]

The strategy for the company was to recruit the nation's top college graduates into a two-year fellowship program where they would work for and apprentice at promising startups in developing cities across the United States. The inspiration for Venture for America as outlined in Yang's book, Smart People Should Build Things, argues that the top universities in the country cherry pick the smartest kids out of small towns and funnel them into the same corporate jobs in the same big cities.[10] Yang's goal, he outlines, is to help distribute that talent around the country and incentivize entrepreneurship for economic growth.

After 2011, the company grew quickly moving from a $200,000 budget in 2011 to a $6,000,000 annual operating budget in 2017[11] and began operating in over 18 U.S. cities adding Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and St. Louis.[12] Venture for America began running a Startup Accelerator in Detroit, launched a seed fund for fellows, and an investment fund for fellows.

In the summer of 2017, Andrew Yang stepped down as CEO of the company. At the time of his exit from the company, Venture for America had over 500 Fellows & alumni who had started 29 companies, raised over $40 million, and helped create over 2,500 jobs.[13][14]

In the fall of 2016 a major documentary about Venture for America, co-directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser, was released titled 'Generation Startup'.[15]

Presidential campaign[edit]

Campaign logo

On November 6, 2017, Yang filed with the FEC to run for President of the United States in 2020.[16] His campaign proposes a $1,000/month "Freedom Dividend" to all US citizens between the ages of 18 to 64, which is a form of Universal Basic Income, and other responses to predictions of mass unemployment from technological automation.[17][18] In a New York Times editorial featuring his 2020 Presidential campaign, he is noted as creating various new policies such as a department focused on regulating the addictive nature of media, a White House Psychologist, making tax day a National Holiday, and to stem corruption, increasing the salaries of federal regulators but limiting their private work after they leave public service.[19] He is running on the slogan "Humanity First."[20] Yang is the first American man of Asian ancestry Democrat to run for President.[21]

In a press release on April 19, 2018, Andrew Yang announced that he would be personally giving one resident of New Hampshire $1,000/month in 2019 to show the effectiveness of his policy the Freedom Dividend.[22] He also announced he will be doing the same thing in Iowa in 2019.[23]

On August 10, 2018, Andrew was a keynote speaker at the largest Democratic fundraiser in Iowa, the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding.[24] He has completed two trips to Iowa[25][26] and New Hampshire[27][28] in 2018.

The Washington Post listed Andrew as one of the many candidates for president in 2020.[29]


Yang meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012

White House honors[edit]

In 2012, Yang was named as a Champion of Change by the Obama White House.[30] Later, in 2015, he was again acknowledged by the Obama White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) alongside Daymond John, Brian Chesky, Steve Case, Tory Burch and several more.[31]


Yang's work with Venture for America also had him recognized as one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”[32] He has appeared on CNN,[33] CNBC,[34] Morning Joe,[35] Fox News Radio,[36] Time,[37] TechCrunch,[38] The Wall Street Journal,[7] and has given a TEDx talk at Georgetown University on Human Capitalism.[39]

As a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, he has appeared on CBS News,[40] MSNBC,[41] NowThis,[42] and Yahoo Finance,[43] He has also been featured in print and digital publications including The New York Times,[44] The Wall Street Journal,[45] Huffington Post,[46] Vox,[47] TechCrunch,[48] CNBC,[49] and Business Insider.[50]

He was also featured on the Ezra Klein[51] and Sam Harris'[52] podcasts.

Personal life[edit]

Yang lives with his wife, Evelyn, and two sons in New York City.[19]


  1. ^ Yang, Andrew. "Smart People Should Build Things - Andrew Yang - E-book". HarperCollins US. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  2. ^ Yang, Andrew (May 2018). The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0316414241.
  3. ^ a b Seligson, Hannah (2013-07-13). "No Six-Figure Pay, but Making a Difference". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Robert L. (2013-09-03). "Andrew Yang, Venture for America founder, will help showcase Cleveland's startup scene". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  5. ^ Yang, Andrew (2014-10-21). "The US should include entrepreneurs in its definition of service". Quartz. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  6. ^ "The Evolution of Education – Kaplan acquires Manhattan GMAT". steve cheney – technology, business & strategy. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  7. ^ a b Glazer, Emily (2012-01-12). "For Grads Seeking to Work and Do Good". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  8. ^ a b Bruder, Jessica (2011-10-12). "Starting a Teach for America for Entrepreneurs". You’re the Boss Blog. The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  9. ^ "Our Mission & Approach - Venture for America". Venture for America. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  10. ^ "A Book in 5 Minutes: Smart People Should Build Things". TechCo. 2014-09-27. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  11. ^ "Financials - Venture for America". Venture for America. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  12. ^ "Where We Work - Venture for America". Venture for America. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  13. ^ "Fellow Profiles - Venture for America". Venture for America. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  14. ^ "Fellow-Founded Companies - Venture for America". Venture for America. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  15. ^ "Home". GENERATION STARTUP. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  16. ^ "STATEMENT OF CANDIDACY" (PDF). 6 November 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  17. ^ Gohd, Chelsea (2018-02-13). "Meet the long-shot 2020 presidential candidate who might make UBI a reality". Futurism. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  18. ^ Christou, Luke (2018-02-20). "Andrew Yang 2020: 5 ways the President hopeful would change America - Verdict". Verdict. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  19. ^ a b Roose, Kevin (2018-02-10). "His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  20. ^ "Andrew Yang for President - Humanity First". Andrew Yang for President. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  21. ^ Lay, Belmont (March 14, 2018). "Asian man running for US President in 2020". Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  22. ^ Clifford, Catherine (2018-04-20). "This presidential hopeful will give away $1,000 a month to demonstrate the benefits of cash handouts". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  23. ^ "Andrew Yang on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  24. ^ "Andrew Yang". Iowa Democratic Wing Ding. 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Adam. "Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang pitches big ideas to Iowa". The Gazette. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  26. ^ Newman, Mark. "Labor Day event promotes worker unity". Ottumwa Courier. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  27. ^ Sexton, Adam (2018-06-12). "In NH, presidential candidate Andrew Yang touts universal basic income". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  28. ^ Steinhauser, Paul (April 25, 2018). "Presidential candidate Andrew Yang aims to prove it can pay to live in N.H." Concord Monitor.
  29. ^ "Democrats are starting to angle for 2020, even if they deny it". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  30. ^ "Celebrating a Year of Champions of Change – President Obama Meets with 12 Champions Who Are Making a Difference in Their Communities". 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  31. ^ "Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship". Department of Commerce. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  32. ^ "27. Andrew Yang". Fast Company. 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  33. ^ Suleiman, Summer (2015-03-11). "Would you be a successful entrepreneur?". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  34. ^ Manhattan Prep (2009-04-24), 4 17 09, Andrew Yang, Manhattan GMAT, CNBC, retrieved 2017-02-01
  35. ^ "Should new grads think beyond law school, finance?". MSNBC. 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  36. ^ Robinson, Jamie (2015-12-02). "From Motown To Tech Town: The Story Of Andrew Yang, Detroit And Venture For America". FOX News Radio. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  37. ^ Macsai, Dan (2012-04-09). "Helping Hand". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  38. ^ Kincaid, Jason (2011-07-20). "Venture for America Sends Entrepreneurial Talent To The Cities That Need It Most". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  39. ^ TEDx Talks (2012-11-09), Fixing the Flow of Human Capital: Andrew Yang at TEDxGeorgetown, retrieved 2018-01-03
  40. ^ "CBS News TV Interview with Andrew Yang - Andrew Yang for President". Andrew Yang for President. 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  41. ^ "Andrew Yang Live TV on MSNBC with Alex Witt - Andrew Yang for President". Andrew Yang for President. 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  42. ^ nowthisnews. "Andrew Yang Talks About Universal Basic Income And Running On It For President". NowThis. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  43. ^ "Presidential Candidate, Andrew Yang talks about his run for office". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  44. ^ "His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  45. ^ Glaeser, Edward (2018-07-09). "'Give People Money' and 'The War on Normal People' Review: The Cure for Poverty?". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  46. ^ HuffPost, On Assignment For (2018-05-01). "This Guy's Running For President And Wants To Give You 'Free' Money". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  47. ^ "A 2020 presidential candidate recommends 3 books on why the economy is failing Americans — and how to fix it". Vox. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  48. ^ "Andrew Yang is running for President to save America from the robots". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  49. ^ Chandran, Nyshka (2018-09-10). "US presidential hopeful: Free money can help save the country from jobs lost to robots". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  50. ^ "Meet the Democratic businessman who wants to beat Trump in 2020 and give every American a basic income: 'Donald Trump gives entrepreneurs a bad name'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  51. ^ Ezra Klein Show (2018-08-20), Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate | The Ezra Klein Show, retrieved 2018-09-14
  52. ^ Sam Harris (2018-06-18), Waking Up with Sam Harris #130 - Universal Basic Income (with Andrew Yang), retrieved 2018-09-14

External links[edit]