In the bustling landscape of entrepreneurship, stories often emerge from diverse backgrounds, each narrating a unique journey. Ty Wang, the founder of Angle Health, shares his inspiring tale that begins with immigrant roots and leads to the establishment of a groundbreaking healthcare benefits solution.
In this blog post, we delve into Ty’s life, experiences, and Angle Health’s evolution from concept to reality.
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Immigrant Upbringing and Entrepreneurial Inspiration
Ty’s journey starts with his parents, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. with no formal education but a determination to carve out a better life.
Growing up in Colorado in a blue-collar family, Ty witnessed the tenacity of his parents, who, out of necessity, became entrepreneurs to provide for their family. This upbringing laid the foundation for Ty’s own entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by the aspiration to create something meaningful.
Education and Early Passion for Technology
From a young age, Ty showed an inclination towards technology, computers, and understanding how things were built. A government scholarship led him to study electrical and systems engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.
His scholarship came with a condition – entering the engineering field, a decision that would shape Ty’s trajectory unexpectedly.
Government Service and Eye-Opening Experiences
Ty spent seven years working for the federal government, engaging in diverse roles and traveling extensively across the Middle East and South Asia.
This period exposed him to different cultures, honed his communication skills, and provided valuable insights into the functioning of large organizations.
However, as time passed, Ty began contemplating shifting from government service to the dynamic business world.
Transition to Tech: Palantir and the Catalyst for Change
Recruiters came knocking, presenting opportunities in both tech and consulting. Ty’s peers transitioning to tech companies, including Palantir, intrigued him. The entrepreneurial culture at Palantir resonated with Ty, ultimately prompting him to take the leap.
This experience, combined with exposure to the venture world, kindled a desire to venture into entrepreneurship on his terms.
From Palantir to Y Combinator
Ty’s time at Palantir offered a glimpse into the fast-paced venture world. Listening to podcasts, including the Dealmaker’s Podcast by Alejandro Cremades, provided further inspiration. The turning point came with admission into Y Combinator, a pivotal experience for Ty and his co-founder.
The accelerator program not only equipped them with essential knowledge but also shaped their perspective on building a disruptive and sustainable business. Getting into the Y Combinator, one of the best startup accelerator programs, is tougher than getting into Harvard.
Ty remembers that access to the program’s network, comprising other entrepreneurs and training from founders and YC partners, was a valuable experience. Ty got a lot of exposure and education on fundraising and the venture capital ecosystem.
He and his partner learned how to raise the capital needed to build a company like the one they had envisioned–particularly a company like Angle Health in a highly regulated and capital-intensive industry.
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Angle Health’s Inception and YC Experience
Ty reflects on the challenges and triumphs of Angle Health’s beginnings during the pandemic. The fully remote company, initiated amidst the chaos, necessitated a strong focus on cultivating culture and effective communication.
Ty emphasizes the importance of efficiently managing capital, especially in a highly regulated industry. Ty’s team demonstrated the ability to secure licenses and launch with minimal capital compared to their counterparts, emphasizing their dedication to financial prudence.
Angle Health is essentially a one-stop healthcare care benefits solution for employers. It enables employers to purchase health insurance for their employees faster and easier. Employees can thus access healthcare benefits.
Angle’s products are ACA-compliant group health insurance plans purchased by employers and covering their employees, which is the vast majority of health insurance in the US.
More than just an insurance product, Angle operates a fully licensed health insurance carrier, a third-party administrator, along with a couple of other entities that enable it to provide services across access to medical care and healthcare-related financial services.
Leveraging the Palantir Experience
Having operated at both Palantir and the federal government, Ty and his co-founder, Anirban Gangopadhyay, learned how to navigate various government organizations and operate in environments with a very high regulatory compliance level.
Ty explains that there’s a long lead time before you can go live with a product in such an industry because the company or product could need licensing and regulatory approvals.
For this reason, the company needed funding upfront to go through the regulatory processes before they could launch the product.
However, Ty and his co-founder were able to convince and prove to their investors that they could go through these processes in a capital-efficient manner.
They were able to raise a seed round and ended up getting licensed and launching faster and with significantly less capital than most of the first-generation insurtech companies. Angle Health has successfully raised capital worth $63M.
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Building a Remote-First Culture
Ty recalls finishing the Y Combinator program in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Since they had built a company through the pandemic, it was remote-focused. Being fully remote, Angle Health faced the challenge of building a cohesive culture.
Ty stresses the significance of consistent communication, documentation, and fostering a sense of connection among team members.
Despite most employees meeting in person for the first time recently, Ty advocates for intentional efforts to strengthen the team’s bonds in a virtual work environment.
Angle Health’s Vision for the Future
In Ty’s vision, the future of healthcare involves a paradigm shift towards preventing diseases rather than merely treating them. Angle Health aims to democratize access to preventative health services, particularly for those in lower-income professions and healthcare deserts.
The goal is to create a world where preventable diseases are rare and essential services are accessible to all. As Ty points out, diabetes, hypertension, and the vast majority of chronic diseases that exist in our world today are actually preventable.
Access to telehealth and virtual care options should be expanded to the people who really need them, such as people working for restaurant groups, manufacturing companies, retail chains, and other blue-collar professions, and not just employees at big tech, finance, or law firms.
Ty envisions a system with democratized access to modern healthcare services like telehealth and telemedicine so that anyone can access the best, most convenient care.
Ty’s Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Ty leaves aspiring entrepreneurs with a crucial piece of advice – hire slowly and intentionally. Building a team that aligns with the company’s culture and vision is paramount for long-term success.
Ty emphasizes the significance of each team member in shaping the company’s trajectory.
Ty Wang’s journey, from immigrant roots to entrepreneurship, exemplifies the resilience and determination required to carve a path in the business world. Angle Health’s commitment to revolutionizing healthcare benefits reflects Ty’s passion for creating positive change.
As Angle Health continues to grow, Ty’s story serves as an inspiration for those embarking on their entrepreneurial ventures, showcasing the power of vision, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of a better future.
Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:
- Ty Wang’s entrepreneurial journey is rooted in the inspirational story of his immigrant parents, who turned necessity into entrepreneurial success.
- Growing up fascinated by technology, Ty’s educational journey and government service laid the groundwork for his future in the tech and entrepreneurship space.
- Ty’s stint at Palantir exposed him to the dynamic venture world, sparking his interest in entrepreneurship and paving the way for future endeavors.
- Admission into Y Combinator provided Ty with crucial insights, shaping Angle Health’s foundation and its approach to building a disruptive and sustainable business.
- Ty highlights the capital intensity of the healthcare sector but emphasizes Angle Health’s success in securing licenses and launching with minimal capital compared to industry norms.
- Establishing a fully remote company during the pandemic, Ty underscores the importance of intentional communication and team-building efforts to foster a strong organizational culture.
- Angle Health’s vision extends beyond traditional healthcare, aiming to democratize access to preventative health services and reduce the prevalence of preventable diseases in the future.