Kurt Waltenbaugh and Won Chung

Unlikely Partners Join Forces to Launch New Venture

Monday, February 15, 2016

“Without Carlson, I do not think that Carrot Health would have been possible. The program gave me the tools and thought processes I needed to get to the next step.” –Won Chung

When Kurt Waltenbaugh and Won Chung first met in the Carlson Executive MBA Program, they were set on seemingly diverging career paths. Waltenbaugh was an established entrepreneur with a handful of successful ventures in his portfolio who was looking to broaden his network and learn why his past start-ups achieved success. Chung was a physician who was seeking new opportunities to apply his medical background to a business career. 

Sowing the seeds of a start-up

Together, they founded Carrot Health: a start-up that derives actionable customer insights from both clinical and consumer data to help healthcare providers and payers better engage with their patients based on their needs.

The co-founders agree the venture’s success is due, in large part, to the disparate expertise each party brings to the table.

“Won had abilities in the medical profession. His knowledge combined with my background from a start-up and data perspective was invaluable, and we were able to build the company together,” says Waltenbaugh. “It’s been a journey from Carlson to the next phase of our careers into this startup.”

Where doctors, entrepreneurs, and executives meet

The Carlson Executive MBA Program brings leaders from a variety of backgrounds together to challenge and learn from one another. Students soon discover that when a diverse group of professionals with a depth of industry experience gather in the classroom, amazing things happen.

“For two years, you’re with this diverse group from different backgrounds and professions who get to know each other so well. You develop a relationship that carries you beyond the four walls of the school,” says Chung.

A prescription for success

The team has relied on this network to grow their business. Most recently, Waltenbaugh reached out to a former classmate to get answers to a human resources challenge he faced, and she offered invaluable advice.

“I feel like I have a team of people who I know, not just in my industry but elsewhere in the Twin Cities and around the country we can call on,” he says.

Faculty from the program have also gotten involved in Carrot Health—two professors have visited their offices to lend expertise on healthcare analytics and marketing.

“Knowing we have a link back into the University to access the talent pool to grow our business is a great advantage,” says Waltenbaugh.

Today, Carrot Health is moving fast with a larger team, while landing key clients, and expanding nationwide.