Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Class of 2012 Graduate Kevin Wang Named “20 Under 20” Thiel Fellow

Kevin Wang’s first taste of entrepreneurial success came during his junior year at IMSA when he won $2,000 in IMSA’s TALENT Power Pitch contest for his Gravity Games Studio.

Fast forward two years and Kevin now joins the elite 2013 “20 Under 20” Thiel Fellows. As a fellow, he will receive $100,000 for the next two years honing his entrepreneurial skills to start a company. During the two-year fellowship, he will receive mentorship from the Thiel Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, futurists and innovators.

“When we created the fellowship more than two years ago, our intention was to help a small number of creative people learn and accomplish more than they might have otherwise,” said Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first investor and the co-founder and former CEO at PayPal.

The Thiel Fellows, however, exceeded all expectations and in only two years have launched more than 30 companies and raised more than $34 million from outside investors.

Kevin is well-poised for success, because of the training ground he received while attending IMSA.

In addition to honing his entrepreneurial skills through the IMSA TALENT program, he also became IMSA’s first Excelerate Labs intern at 1871. In addition to a ton of enthusiasm and drive, Kevin contributed extensively to most of the startups in Excelerate.

“It felt gratifying knowing that my contributions to these companies were significant enough that code I would write or designs I would build would be used live within a day.”

Kevin, who is finishing up his freshman year at University of California-Berkely, said his internship at Excelerate Labs taught him several valuable lessons he can now use in his quest to start a company.

“I learned how important it was to be aggressive with the resources you’re presented with,” Wang said. “The most successful startups in Excelerate had hungry founders, and part of me getting the most out of my experience was trying to be just as hungry both in meeting people and eagerly learning from them,” he added. “It’s amazing how much of your personal success has come as a product of those around you.”