Andrew Yang (entrepreneur)
Yang at Techonomy 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.
|Born||January 13, 1975|
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Notable work||The War on Normal People (2018), Smart People Should Build Things (2014)|
|Awards||Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship (2015), White House Champion of Change (2012)|
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 and The War on Normal People, about automation of labor. 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
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 earning a Bachelor's of Arts (BA) in Economics. After Brown University, Yang attended Columbia Law School in New York City where he earned a Juris Doctor (JD).
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 Stargiving.com, a startup that worked to support celebrity-affiliated philanthropy.[better source needed] Stargiving.com 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.
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.
Venture for America (VFA)
Following the acquisition of Manhattan Prep, Yang began to conceive his new company, Venture for America, a non-profit, which he founded in 2011 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."
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. 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 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. 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.
On November 6, 2017, Yang filed with the FEC to run for President of the United States in 2020. 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. 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. He is running on the slogan "Humanity First." Yang is the first American man of Asian ancestry Democrat to run for President.
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. He also announced he will be doing the same thing in Iowa in 2019.
On August 10, 2018, Andrew was a keynote speaker at the largest Democratic fundraiser in Iowa, the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding. He has completed two trips to Iowa and New Hampshire in 2018.
The Washington Post listed Andrew as one of the many candidates for president in 2020.
White House honors
In 2012, Yang was named as a Champion of Change by the Obama White House. 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.
Yang's work with Venture for America also had him recognized as one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Morning Joe, Fox News Radio, Time, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, and has given a TEDx talk at Georgetown University on Human Capitalism.
As a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, he has appeared on CBS News, MSNBC, NowThis, and Yahoo Finance, He has also been featured in print and digital publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Vox, TechCrunch, CNBC, and Business Insider.
Yang lives with his wife, Evelyn, and two sons in New York City.
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