Today's entrepreneur: Will Young

Steven Loeb · September 11, 2020 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/50e8

You need to reinvent yourself over and over again as a founder as your startup moves between stages

Today's entrepreneur is Will Young, CEO and co-founder of Sana Benefits, a provider of self-funded health insurance for SMBs.

The Sana Benefits model is able to save businesses 20 percent on premium costs, and even 50 percent in some cases, by taking solutions that are typically only available for large employers, such as telemedicine, premium support for maternity care, transparent pharmacy benefits and access to centers of excellence, and bringing those solutions to SMBs, specifically business with between five and 250 employees.

Employees that are covered by Sana get perks, which are offered by its partners, such as telehealth services, virtual mental health support, virtual health coaching, and online workouts. 

The company recently raised a $20.8 million round, bringing its total funding to over $27 million.

Prior to founding Sana, Will was on the team at Justworks, where he led operations and then ran a product team. His experience also includes working in business development at Google in Los Angeles.
Young has a BA from Stanford and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Companies I've founded or co-founded:

Sana Benefits, Inc.

Companies I work or worked for:

Google, Justworks

If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to change the world.

My favorite startups:

Lambda School, Oklo, Boom, SchoolHouse, SpaceX

Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?

Healthcare in the US is so broken. It is this big hairy problem that most people are too afraid to touch. My co-founder Nathan & I got excited by the scale of the problem and we figured out a unique approach by building a product for small businesses we think can really change the system for the better in the long run. It's an exciting thing to work on every day.

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

The frustrating thing at the start of a health insurance venture is getting past a series of very difficult chicken and egg problems. For example, customers want to see a track record before signing up but you can't get a track record without customers. Same with reinsurers - they want to know that we are good at managing costs, but how can we prove that without a history of doing it? Lots of things like that. You basically end up crawling through the desert for a long time before you find an oasis.

Two things are tied for most rewarding. 1) being surrounded by creative, passionate people at work every day and 2) seeing customers embrace your product. Basically, I want to feel like I've created a net positive impact on the world around me and those are two very concrete daily reminders that we are doing good work at Sana.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

They aren't hungry enough for negative feedback. There are a million ways to fail and only a handful of ways to succeed. Avoiding all the failure modes is hard work. You need to be paranoid and relentless at uncovering weaknesses in your model and fixing them.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1) Focus on the customer always. They will tell you what you need to build, even if you have to read between the lines.

2) Keep your bar for talent very high. The ROI on talented people almost always exceeds my expectations. It's worth the investment to find and keep people.

3) Never stop learning. You need to reinvent yourself over and over again as a founder as your startup moves between stages. You can't get stuck.

Read more from our "Today's Entrepreneur" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs

Sana Benefits, Inc.

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

We offer top quality benefits your employees will love that save your business up to 20% compared to traditional insurance.

0?e=1605139200&v=beta&t=e5e6mmopcxbf_4ve-eoabbynwxf8ixmot28sozbz_hw

Will Young

Joined Vator on