How a Small Business Made Billions Making Obamacare

In the spring of 2009, Sanjay Singh, a self-described “technology guy with a passion for public policy,” started following the news around a health care bill being debated in the Senate Finance Committee. At the time, it was anything but certain whether the ambitious measure, initially proposed by President Obama, would become law.

Intrigued, Singh, the founder of what had over the past decade grown into a multinational software company, downloaded a copy of the bill online and started reading.

“It occurred to me that if the bill became law, it would require a technology solution to enable these new online health insurance exchanges,” said Singh, who at the time was running McLean, Va.-based GlobalLogic, a software product development firm. “I realized there was a possible business opportunity there.”

Singh didn’t wait for the legislation to pass. He and his two co-founders, Manoj Agarwala and Tarun Upadhyay, soon left GlobalLogic to found a new company, which they called hCentive. The plan was to start building the type of software the government would need to comply with the legislation, which called on state and federal officials to build online health insurance portals for individuals and small businesses. Once the bill passed — if ever passed — Singh and his team would be there waiting to capitalize.

It was a risky gamble, but one that paid off handsomely after the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law nine months later.

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