tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:/posts Y Combinator Posthaven 2018-05-03T18:00:29Z Y Combinator tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1108891 2016-11-17T18:00:00Z 2018-05-03T18:00:29Z Welcome Aaron, Gustaf, Lyle, Immad and Marcus

We're excited to welcome three new visiting partners and three new part-time partners to YC. 

YC Winter 2017 Visiting Partners
The visiting partner program is a new experiment we are launching to embed active startup founders and executives into each YC batch. Alongside their ongoing responsibilities at their current companies, visiting partners serve for a 6 month term working directly with YC partners and joining group office hours, holding individual office hours, attending Tuesday night dinners, and participating in other batch events.

The new visiting partners for this batch are:

Aaron Epstein is the co-founder of Creative Market (YC W10), which was acquired by Autodesk in 2014. Before that, Aaron co-founded COLOURlovers, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Business.

Gustaf Alströmer is a Product Lead for Growth at Airbnb. Previously, he led growth at Voxer and was the co-founder and CEO of Heysan (YC W07), which was acquired by Good Technology in 2009.

Lyle Fong is the CEO and co-founder of Hobo Labs, a mobile video game studio. He previously was CEO and founder of Lithium Technologies, an enterprise social-media software company. Lyle studied Computer Science at UC Berkeley.

New Part-Time Partners for Winter 2017
The part-time partners program started in 2011 and is made up of startup founders and executives who have specific areas of expertise in a variety of topics that are useful to our founders.  During their 6 month terms they are invited to YC events and host individual office hours with companies throughout the batch.

The new part-time partners for this batch are:

Immad Akhund is the CEO and founder of Heyzap (YC W09), which was acquired by RNTS Media. He was previously the founder and CTO of Clickpass (YC S07), and received his M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge.

Kevin Hale, was the founder and CEO of Wufoo (YC W06), which was acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011. He spent three years as a YC partner and is now going part-time so he can start his next company. Kevin graduated from Stetson University with a BA in Digital Arts and English.  

Marcus Segal was most recently the SVP of Global Operations of Zynga. Before that, he was CFO of Vindicia later acquired by Amdocs and COO of eMusic acquired by Universal Music Group. He received his MBA from Pepperdine University and his B.A. in English from UC - Santa Barbara.

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1094675 2016-09-29T19:31:13Z 2018-05-02T19:45:46Z Hard Tech Startups

Some people think YC only funds straightforward software startups. That’s definitely not the case — YC’s largest exit to date is a self-driving car company, Cruise Automation, and we’ve funded many other hard technology companies like Gingko Bioworks, Oklo, Helion, Rigetti Computing, OpenAI, Perlara, uBiome, Verge Genomics, X-Zell, Athelas, Auro Robotics, Bagaveev, Boom, Gecko Robotics, Multiply Labs, OpenTrons, Varden Labs, Atomwise, Transcriptic, IronOx, 20n, Bikanta, Industrial Microbes, Cofactor Genomics and many more

We’d like to fund a lot more hard tech companies [1], and I’d like to explain how YC most helps hard tech founders.

At the earliest stages, there’s actually a lot more in common between a self-driving car company and a file sharing company than people think–all kinds of startups usually work best when initial costs are low and iteration cycles are fast. It’s relatively easy for a software startup to take short cycle times and low-costs to an extreme, but hard tech founders are often surprised by how effectively they can do this, too.

Many hard tech founders come from academia or big company backgrounds, where projects can be expensive and slow. We help these founders shift into a much more iterative mindset so they can move faster.

Very often, the first thing we do is help hard tech founders find a small project within their larger idea that fits the model of quick iteration and requires a relatively small amount of capital. This project is often the smallest subset of their technology that still matters to some user or customer. It may at first look like a detour, but it’s a starting point that lets founders build measurable momentum–for themselves, for recruiting employees, and for attracting investors.

And while we encourage hard tech startups to start small, we love when founders think very big.  When needed, we help founders think through a long-term plan of how they can develop their technology to build companies of massive impact.

It’s not a YC company, but Tesla is my favorite example of how powerful this small project + long-term planning mentality can be. Their vision has always been to bring an affordable electric car to the masses, but they first built the Roadster—the opposite of a mass market car—to generate revenue to get to the Model S. The Model S then generated the revenue to start the Model 3.

And Oklo, which is building next generation nuclear reactors, is a promising example from YC. When they first came to YC, they were considering going after several very different markets simultaneously. We encouraged them to focus on one market they could enter quickly and not try to do too many things at once, but we also encouraged them to open up to thinking through their most impactful possible future.

In terms of cost, we help hard tech startups operate as efficiently as possible. One factor that lead to the explosion of internet startups was that web hosting became a couple of orders of magnitude cheaper and easier to do. This is happening now for hard tech: there are many more standard components and services at much lower costs for startups in biotech, energy, robotics, and everything in between. We help founders think about how to build their first version and source components as quickly as possible, and we have deals with suppliers and service providers that you can use based on your needs.

We also help hard tech startups balance the need to move quickly with complex regulatory environments. Hard tech startups often operate in heavily regulated markets, and the activation energy required to get over regulatory hurdles kills many of them. Even the most regulated industries have paths to quickly test your assumptions though, and we help you find the best plan of attack without getting into trouble.

When appropriate, we help hard tech founders find customers. For some startups this doesn’t make sense—there are some ideas that people will obviously want if the technology can be figured out, and there are obvious other things to focus on. But for others, it can be a useful way to find that smallest useful project and/or build more momentum.

Gingko Bioworks, which biologically engineers custom microbes, is a good example of this— before YC they had done a few large deals, with long ~6 month sales cycles. But when they went through YC, we encouraged them to figure out how to do minimal sized engagements that they could sell more quickly. During YC, they took this strategy and closed 3 new Fortune-1000 sized customers. They say this strategy gave them a lot of momentum to keep building on to where they are now.

Hard tech companies go through the same 3-month batch format as all of the startups we fund. No matter what people are working on, it ends up being very motivating to be around other founders for this short, intense period of time. And during the batch, hard tech founders have hardware and biotech days, where companies come together to hear from successful founders on how to best tackle their specific problems.

Hard tech companies also join the same 3,000-person-plus YC alumni network as all of our startups. The network is just as useful for a hard tech company as any other startup—alumni are resources for advice, recruiting, and serve as first customers. For example, Transcriptic, which operates a robotic laboratory for outsourced science experiments, offers $20k in credits to every YC biotech company that wants to use their service. This both helps other YC companies, and turns them into customers that Transcriptic can grow with as their customers' businesses scale.

Alumni and batchmates also give moral support—more so than with others, we hear from hard tech founders how isolating a startup can be; problems are difficult and payout can be very long-term. Having a group of other founders going through the same things can help a lot.

Finally, we are particularly good at helping hard tech companies raise money. Fundraising can often be harder for hard tech founders, as the things being worked on often fall outside investors' comfort zones. But at this point a lot of investors take YC's judgement as an encouraging sign. Being backed by YC can help legitimize daunting ideas.

We hope to fund a lot more hard tech companies in the future, and if you’re tinkering on something or even just toying with an idea, we hope you’ll apply now, even if that means you have to turn in your application late. There will be many $10 billion+ hard tech companies in the future, and we hope to help a lot more of them get started.

[1] I use ‘hard tech’ to mean a startup where there is doubt that the technology can be built at all.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1094002 2016-09-28T17:00:00Z 2018-05-02T19:45:48Z Welcome Craig, Fred and Mark!

We're excited to announce three additions to the YC team: 

Craig Cannon is joining YC as Director of Marketing. Prior to YC, he cofounded Comedy Hack Day and was Graphics Editor at The Onion. Craig also holds a cycling world record.

Fred Benenson is joining YC as an admissions manager.  Previously he was VP of Data at Kickstarter and their second employee. He has a masters from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program and also studied philosophy and computer science undergrad there.

Mark Thurman is a software engineer interested in esoteric programming languages and distributed systems. He graduated from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Previously he worked on backend systems and API design for Evernote and App.net. In his free time he enjoys reading, traveling with his family, and cooking.

Michael Seibel
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1094005 2016-09-27T20:00:05Z 2018-05-03T17:55:37Z Requests for Startups Refreshed

We’ve refreshed the Requests for Startups. Here are the additions:

Food and Farming
An estimated 40% of the world’s workforce works in agriculture.

Better food and farming could increase the world’s health, unlock the potential of numerous workers, and improve living conditions for billions of animals.

We believe economics will dominate - reducing cost while preserving or improving flavor will win the day.

Mass Media
What can we do to bring up the baseline and make the vast majority of our mass media better?

Media outlets that rely on polarization, misinformation, passivity, and fear, are not improving society. We’re looking for ways to bring the average back up and improve mass media.

Updated: Underserved Communities and Social Services
Tens of millions of working poor in America don’t see a path to the middle class.

This population has to navigate a world with substandard services, low quality housing, overcrowded schools, and crime in their neighborhoods. They are often unbanked and living paycheck to paycheck.

The US government alone spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year on social services and safety net programs for these underserved communities.

We believe great non-profits and for-profits can bring technology and strong metrics-driven approaches to this largely ignored, massive market.

You shouldn’t start a company just because it’s on this list. It’s mostly here to help stimulate you to think about ideas.

Apply to YC

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1091637 2016-09-20T17:01:03Z 2018-05-03T17:55:31Z YC and Founders Pledge

Many of our founders ask us about how they can donate part of their equity or post exit proceeds, and now we have an answer: Founders Pledge.  

With Founders Pledge, founders can sign a pledge to donate some portion of their personal equity and then figure out the recipients for the donation later. Founders Pledge handles all the legwork. As a charity itself, pledges are eligible for tax relief at time of exit and funds can be deployed globally.

Founders Pledge (1) allows founders to decide now that charitable giving is important to them, (2) doesn't impact other stockholders of their company and (3) requires only about 5 minutes of time and no participation costs. Founders Pledge also provides substantive post-exit support including cause area analysis, charity sourcing, deep due diligence, and impact reporting.

More than 500 founders have already pledged with Founders Pledge, including those from Jawbone, Shazam, SwiftKey, AvantCredit, Deepmind, Huddle, Farfetch, Hampton Creek, FundingCircle, Blockchain, Zesty, Vicarious, and Unruly, as well as 10+ YC companies. 

If you want to learn more, visit https://founderspledge.com/. If you have questions, you can reach out to Ben Clifford (ben@founderspledge.com).

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1090124 2016-09-15T09:00:01Z 2018-05-02T19:46:01Z YC Office Hours in Prague - Sept 22

YC is hosting office hours in Prague on September 22. 

YC's Dominika Blackappl will meet founders for 25-minute sessions. She is an industrial and user experience designer who cofounded and led 5 startups. Prior to that, she ran her own design firm and spent time at IDEO.

She's interested in speaking to any types of companies, and can be particularly helpful if you need design advice. 

Please sign up by end of day on September 18. If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot and the location by end of day on September 20.

Sign up here >
Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1090120 2016-09-14T21:54:51Z 2018-05-02T19:46:09Z YC EdTech Office Hours - Sept 29

YC's Tim Brady and Geoff Ralston are hosting office hours with edtech companies on September 29. 

Office hour slots are 25 minutes each and will be especially helpful for founders who are considering applying for the next batch of YC. 

Sign up here. 

Please sign up by end of day on September 21. If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot on September 23. Office hours will take place at YC's office in Mountain View or on Skype.

YC EdTech Office Hours
Thurs, Sept 29, 2016 from 2pm-5pm PT
Sign up here >

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1089676 2016-09-13T17:00:00Z 2018-05-02T19:46:10Z YC Changes

*Michael Seibel will be the new CEO of YC Core, which we are now just going to call "YC".
*Ali Rowghani is now the CEO of the YC Continuity Fund.
*I’m going to be the President of YC Group, which includes YC, YC Continuity, YC Research, and our new online class. We’ll add more organizational units over time.
*We’re going to replace the Fellowship with a much larger MOOC launching next year.

YC continues to expand and we have several changes to announce:


Michael Seibel is going to become CEO of what we called YC Core and are now again going to refer to as just “YC”. Making a distinction between YC Core and the Fellowship was simply too confusing for everyone. Michael will be responsible for the administration and success of the program.

Michael has been an informal leader within the organization for a long time, as well as a close advisor to many, many startups we’ve funded.  He began his relationship with YC as co-founder of Justin.tv (which became Twitch) along with Emmett Shear, Justin Kan, and Kyle Vogt in the W2007 batch.  He was also the CEO of Socialcam (YC W12, sold to Autodesk) and an early advisor to Airbnb.

Paul Buchheit (known to everyone in YC as PB) is going to take on a role similar to the provost of a university.  He will drive improvement of the program and help advise startups on their hardest problems and biggest opportunities (which, again, he’s been doing for a long time).  PB is one of the most consistently brilliant out-of-the-box thinkers I’ve met.

YC Continuity Fund

Ali Rowghani is now the CEO of the YC Continuity Fund, which has already become a thriving unit within the YC Group. The Continuity Fund has grown from just Ali 18 months ago to a team of 6, and has already led a number of investments in growth stage YC companies.

In addition to becoming the first phone call of the founders he’s worked with, Ali has become an invaluable part of the YC partnership as we operate and scale our own organization.  

My role; other groups

I’m going to change my title from “President of YC” to “President of YC Group”.  In addition to the 4 we already have, I expect that we will add another two large units to YC in the next couple of years, although that number could easily be 1 or 3.  I’ll be responsible for getting new units started.


We’ve run the Fellowship 3 times.  We’ve learned a lot about how to help remote startups (and found a few things that didn’t work).  

The goal of the Fellowship was to make YC more inclusive and increase the number and range of companies we can help get started. Now, we're taking the lessons we learned from Fellowship and we're expanding it into a MOOC, so that anyone can participate. The online course will teach content similar to that of the Fellowship, and it will follow a similar structure.

We’re going to call the MOOC “Startup School” as an homage to YC’s Startup School (the conference YC has hosted since 2005). We plan to offer it in 2017 and we’ll share more information on it soon.

I’m going to teach the class.

YC Research

We’re currently supporting 4 groups—OpenAI, Basic Income, HARC, and Cities.  This is a little ahead of our planned pace, and we expect to add just a couple more over the next couple of years.

We’ve also mostly figured out what our unifying theme for YC Research is and will share more soon.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1088443 2016-09-09T20:08:06Z 2018-05-02T19:46:11Z A List of Y Combinator Companies

We published a list of launched YC companies we've funded since 2005. 

See it here.

The list was opt-in, so not every company we've ever funded is listed. 

Quick stats (which you can find here):
- As of today, YC has funded 1,382 companies (including Fellowship companies)
- Total market cap of YC alum: $70B 
- Total money raised by YC companies: $10B 
- Number of YC companies worth more than $1B: 10
- Number of YC companies worth more than $100 million: 52

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1088094 2016-09-08T21:02:20Z 2018-05-02T19:46:18Z YC Office Hours in NYC - Sept 14

We're hosting office hours in NYC on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

Sign up here to meet with the YC team. 

YC Office Hours in NYC
Weds, Sept 14, 2016 from 9am-1:30pm ET.
Office hour slots are 20 minutes each. If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot and the location by end of day on Monday, September 12.

Sign up here >

Craig Cannon
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1087240 2016-09-06T20:55:22Z 2018-05-02T19:45:43Z YC Office Hours at Hack the North - Sept 17

We're hosting office hours at Hack the North at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, September 17, 2016. 

Sign up here to meet with the YC team. 

YC Office Hours at Hack the North
Sat, Sept 17, 2016 from 1pm-4pm ET
Office hour slots are 20 minutes each. If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot and the location by end of day on Thursday, September 15.
Sign up here >

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1085240 2016-08-30T20:01:44Z 2018-05-02T19:45:49Z Jessica Livingston on HTBTF

Our second guest on How To Build The Future is Jessica Livingston, Co-Founder of Y Combinator!

You can watch it here: http://www.ycombinator.com/future/jessica/.

Jessica has been instrumental in the creation and continued success of YC.  She talks here about what founders of very successful companies do in their early days, and also what she did in the early days to make YC into what it's become.

Also, we've moved the site for these interviews to http://www.ycombinator.com/future/.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1082516 2016-08-19T17:00:03Z 2016-09-02T20:00:35Z Welcome Sharon!

Sharon Pope will be joining YC to run programs and marketing for the YC Continuity Fund.

Sharon was most recently the Chief Marketing Officer for Green Dot Corporation (inventor of the prepaid debit card; creator of the first fully mobile bank account, GoBank). Prior to that, she ran marketing & PR at Loopt (acquired by Green Dot) and managed PR and content for a range of tech companies while at San Francisco PR agencies.

We’re excited for Sharon to help engage growth stage founders and YC alumni.

Ali Rowghani
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1081400 2016-08-15T18:07:14Z 2018-05-02T19:45:44Z Last Day to Apply for Startup School 2016!

It's the last day to apply for Startup School 2016. Apply here

Startup School will be hosted at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA on September 17. 

Speakers include:
Marc Andreessen · Founder, a16z 
Kalam Dennis and Reham Fagiri · Founders, AptDeco 
Ooshma Garg · Founder, Gobble 
Reid Hoffman · Founder, Linkedin and Partner, Greylock
Gabe Leydon · Founder, Machine Zone 
Ben Silbermann · Founder, Pinterest  

You’ll also get a peek at some of what we do at YC. Kevin Hale and Qasar Younis will host on-stage office hours with three companies from the audience, and Sam Altman and Paul Buchheit will hear startup pitches and workshop them on-stage.

We hope to see you there! 

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1080355 2016-08-11T15:00:07Z 2016-09-08T11:47:19Z YC Office Hours in 11 Countries This Fall

YC partners will be visiting 11 countries this fall to meet with founders and learn more about how we can be helpful to international startup communities.

In our Summer 2016 batch, about 30% of the startups we funded were based outside the US before YC. And in the past year, some of the fastest growing companies we’ve worked with were started outside the US.

We want to meet and fund the best founders, no matter where in the world they’re from. We hope to see you while we're on the road.

AFRICA: Nigeria

September 23-26: Lagos, Nigeria
> Join us for a talk at OIIE’s StartUP Friday (Sept 23)
> Join us for a fireside chat with TechCircle (Sept 24)
> Sign up for office hours at Andela (Sept 26)
*Plus other events organized by Ingressive

September 27: Abuja, Nigeria
> Sign up for office hours at Ventures Platform - Abuja (Sept 27)

EUROPE: Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, and Russia

September 20-21: Copenhagen, Denmark
> Join us for talks at TechBBQ 2016 in Copenhagen (Sept 20)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 20-21)

September 21: Lisbon, Portugal
> Join us for a talk at Road2WebSumimit 

September 23: Stockholm, Sweden
> Join us for a fireside chat at the office of Wheelys Cafe
> Sign up for office hours

September 26: Berlin, Germany
> Join us for a fireside chat at Factory Berlin
> Sign up for office hours

September 28-September 30: Moscow, Russia
> Join us for a fireside chat with Innov8 Global Labs at The Yellow Door (Sept 28)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 29)

INDIA: Delhi and Bangalore

September 22: Delhi, India
> Join us for a talk at Innov8.Work
> Sign up for office hours

September 25: Bangalore, India
> Join us for a talk hosted by Innov8.Work
> Sign up for office hours

LATIN AMERICA: Argentina, Chile, and Mexico

September 22: Buenos Aires, Argentina
> Join us for a talk at the Bluesmart office
> Sign up for office hours

September 26-27: Santiago, Chile
> Join us for a talk at iF Chile (Sept 26) 
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 26)
> Join us for a meetup at Start-Up Chile (Sept 27)

September 29-October 1: Mexico City
> Join us for talks at PlatziConf (Oct 1)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 29-30)

MENA: Israel

September 5-September 7: Tel Aviv, Israel
> Join YC partner Aaron Harris for a fireside chat with Eden Shochat (Aleph) on AI and Fintech (Sept 5, 7pm at Rise Tel Aviv, Ahad Ha'am 54)
> Join us for a talk at Google for Entrepreneurs (Sept 6 - more details to come)
> Sign up for office hours on September 6
> Sign up for office hours on September 7

A big thank-you to the YC alumni and startup communities around the world for hosting us.

Questions? Email info@ycombinator.com. And shoot us a note if you'd like to help spread the word.]]>
Kat Manalac
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1077898 2016-08-01T16:15:00Z 2016-09-01T10:02:32Z Welcome Anu!

We are excited to announce that Anu Hariharan will be joining YC as a partner with the YC Continuity Fund.

Anu has been an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz since 2014 where she focused primarily on growth stage investments in the consumer sector. Beyond her involvement in sourcing, analyzing businesses and investment diligence at a16z, she has also worked actively with the management teams at a number of portfolio companies including Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp and Udacity.

Anu began her career as a senior engineer at Qualcomm developing their mobile video streaming solution and then spent four years at The Boston Consulting Group, as a Principal in the firm’s Private Equity Practice.  In this role, Anu led investment due diligence for clients in dozens of deals for both consumer and B2B and across a number of sectors ranging from retail and online marketplaces to fintech, data companies and many more.

Anu combines a rigor and enthusiasm for investing with an ability to relate to and really dig in and help entrepreneurs solve challenging strategic issues. We are excited to welcome her to YC where she will help grow and shape the Continuity program!

Ali Rowghani
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1076953 2016-07-28T17:29:38Z 2018-05-02T19:45:50Z Welcome Dominika, John, Domonique, Ben and Harj!

We're excited to welcome a few new people to YC: 

Dominika Blackappl is joining YC as a part-time partner. She is an industrial and user experience designer who cofounded and led 5 startups, two of which had successful exits. Prior to that, Dominika ran her own design firm and spent time at IDEO.

John Collison is joining YC as a part-time partner. John is the cofounder of Stripe (YC S10), which he started while he was studying physics at Harvard. 

Domonique Fines is joining YC as Head of Events. Domonique comes to us from frog Design where she did office management and events. Domonique is a native of Oakland, CA and got her bachelor's from Clark Atlanta University.   

Ben Holzman is joining the YC Continuity team as a part-time partner. Ben has expertise in enterprise and infrastructure software companies. Most recently, Ben was a Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures, where he spent over 8 years investing in and building software companies. 

And finally, we're happy to welcome Harjeet Taggar to YC's Board of Overseers. He'll be taking over Adora's spot, since she joined us as a full-time partner. Harj was a partner at YC until he left to start Triplebyte (YC S15). And before that he founded Auctomatic (YC W7). 

Welcome to YC!

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1076279 2016-07-26T18:00:04Z 2018-05-02T19:45:45Z Startup School 2016 applications are open

Applications for Startup School 2016 are open now, and we're excited to see you there: http://www.startupschool.org/.

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Flint Center, Cupertino, CA

Startup School is a free to attend, one-day conference where you'll hear stories and practical advice from founders and investors.

This year, we're joined by:
Marc Andreessen, a16z
Kalam Dennis and Reham Fagiri, AptDeco
Ooshma Garg, Gobble
Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn and Greylock Partners
Gabe Leydon, Machine Zone
Ben Silbermann, Pinterest

Learn how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew.

You'll also get a peek at some of what we do at YC. Kevin Hale and Qasar Younis will host on-stage office hours with three companies from the audience, and Sam Altman and Paul Buchheit will hear pitches and workshop them on-stage.

APPLY HERE by August 15
Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1070743 2016-07-07T18:24:22Z 2016-08-20T16:23:48Z Investor Day

Below is a copy of an email I sent to investors who attend YC's Demo Day. It discusses some of the changes we’re making and how they will impact Demo Day.

YC Demo Day Investors,

We’re making some changes to Y Combinator’s Demo Days - please take a minute to read below because they are material.

As with previous batches, Demo Days for the Summer 2016 batch will be split over two days on August 22 and August 23. A RSVP email will be coming to you in the following weeks.  Additionally please keep August 24th available as we’re trying something new this batch called “Investor Day”.

First, when investors watch Demo Day presentations, we’ll have a “request to meet” button next to each startup in the YC Demo Day app. If you watch a presentation and you’d like to request a meeting with the founders to learn more, you’ll click that button. We’ll then ask you to rank the startups you clicked to meet by 8pm on Tuesday 8/23. Second, founders will receive a list of investors who have requested to meet with them, and they will also rank who they want to talk to. Using both these ranked inputs, our software will create “Investor Day” schedules for each investor and each startup, which will take place at the Computer History Museum on Wednesday 8/24. Therefore please also keep 8/24 available on your schedules.

On Wednesday 8/24, all the companies will be set up at tables to meet with you face to face. Each startup will have 10-15 slots available and each meeting will last 20 minutes.

There are a couple of additional points to note. The “request to meet” button will only be available to investors who are physically attending Demo Days (not to remote viewers of our live stream), and all meetings on Investor Day must take place in-person. Investing/General Partners can bring junior investing members to Investor Day, however if the Investing/General Partner is not present, the slot will be cancelled. More details will be provided in a few weeks along with the Demo Day RSVP.

There are several reasons we’re adding Investor Day after Demo Day. This new format streamlines what is already happening in a less efficient way for weeks after every Demo Day with investors and founders driving up and down the valley to meet in office parks and coffee shops. We don’t expect this will completely replace those meetings but rather get them going more smoothly. Investor Day also replaces our old “investor office hours” which happened a few days before Demo Day with a smaller group of investors.

Like many things at YC, Investor Day is an experiment and we’re going to see what works and what doesn’t so bear with us if you run into any bugs. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll be happy to clarify.

Feel free to share this with people on your teams.
Qasar Younis
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1067442 2016-06-27T16:00:00Z 2016-11-13T15:49:24Z New Cities

We want to study building new, better cities.

The world is full of people who aren’t realizing their potential in large part because their cities don't provide the opportunities and living conditions necessary for success. A high leverage way to improve our world is to unleash this massive potential by making better cities.

It’s more important than ever to think about how to do this. The need for new supply continues to increase significantly [1]. Many constraints related to where cities should be located (e.g. near rivers for trade) have changed. We now have major technologies such as smart grids, autonomous vehicles, etc. The internet itself allows for participation never before possible. Also, housing prices in many cities have become untenable and we need more housing in places people want to live.

Some existing cities will get bigger and there's important work being done by smart people to improve them. We also think it’s possible to do amazing things given a blank slate. Our goal is to design the best possible city given the constraints of existing laws.

There are many high-level questions we want to think through, for example:

  • What should a city optimize for?
  • How should we measure the effectiveness of a city (what are its KPIs)?
  • What values should (or should not) be embedded in a city's culture?
  • How can cities help more of their residents be happy and reach their potential?
  • How can we encourage a diverse range of people to live and work in the city?
  • How should citizens guide and participate in government?
  • How can we make sure a city is constantly evolving and always open to change?

And there are tactical questions we want to dig into, for example:

  • How can we make and keep housing affordable? This is critical to us; the cost of housing affects everything else in a city.
  • How can we lay out the public and private spaces (and roads) to make a great place to live? Can we figure out better zoning laws?
  • What is the right role for vehicles in a city?  Should we have human-driven cars at all?
  • How can we have affordable high-speed transit to and from other cities?
  • How can we make rules and regulations that are comprehensive while also being easily understandable? Can we fit all rules for the city in 100 pages of text?
  • What effects will the new city have on the surrounding community?

The first phase of this will be a YC Research project. We’ll publicly share our results, and at the end of the process, we’ll decide if it’s something we should pursue and at what exact locations. We’re seriously interested in building new cities and we think we know how to finance it if everything else makes sense [2].

At minimum, we hope this research helps others make existing cities better.

This is not a small undertaking. We’ve begun research and are now forming a team to work on it full-time. We need people with strong interests and bold ideas in architecture, ecology, economics, politics, technology, urban planning, and much more.

If you’re interested, please apply here by July 30, 2016.

If you have ideas to share, but don't want to work on this full-time, email us your thoughts: cities@ycr.org.

- Adora Cheung, Sam Altman

[1] Two out of three people will live in cities by 2050 - an influx of 2.5 billion new urbanites.

[2] Just to get ahead of the inevitable associations: We want to build cities for all humans - for tech and non-tech people. We’re not interested in building “crazy libertarian utopias for techies.”

Adora Cheung
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1058907 2016-06-02T18:00:00Z 2018-05-02T19:46:32Z Welcome Adora, Nicole, Elizabeth, Case and Robby!

We're excited to announce a few new additions to the YC team. 

Adora Cheung is joining YC as a Partner. Previously, she was co-founder and CEO at Homejoy and a product manager at Slide. Adora has a masters in economics from University of Rochester and a bachelors in computer science from Clemson. 

Nicole Imhof is joining YC as my Executive Assistant. Prior to YC, Nicole was an Operations Associate at the Berkeley Endowment Management Company and previously, she was at ICONIQ Capital. Imhof earned her B.A. in Politics from the University of San Francisco.

Elizabeth Proehl is joining YC Research to manage the office and general operations. Most recently, Elizabeth worked as a public radio producer and reporter at KPFA in Berkeley, California. She has a BA in Near Eastern Studies and Psychology from Cornell.

Case Sandberg is joining YC's software team. Previously, he was an early employee at both Respondly and Borrowlenses (with exits at Buffer and Shutterfly, respectively). Case is a high-school dropout.

Robby Walker is joining YC as a part-time partner and will lead YC's non-profit program. Robby previously founded two companies funded by Y Combinator: Zenter (W2007) and Cue (W2010). He now works on Siri at Apple.

Welcome to YC! 
Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1058050 2016-05-31T16:19:46Z 2018-05-02T19:46:33Z Moving Forward on Basic Income

We have a few updates we want to share on our Basic Income Project:

Our Research Director

Elizabeth Rhodes is joining Basic Income Project as our Research Director.

She recently completed a joint PhD in Social Work and Political Science at the University of Michigan, where her research focused on health and education provision in slum communities in Nairobi.

We received over 1000 applications for this position (including tenured professors from Oxford, Columbia, and Harvard), and Elizabeth stood out as the right candidate based on her aptitude and her ambition. We’re very excited to work with her.

Pilot Study in Oakland

We want to run a large, long-term study to answer a few key questions: how people’s happiness, well-being, and financial health are affected by basic income, as well as how people might spend their time.

But before we do that, we’re going to start with a short-term pilot in Oakland. Our goal will be to prepare for the longer-term study by working on our methods--how to pay people, how to collect data, how to randomly choose a sample, etc.

Oakland is a city of great social and economic diversity, and it has both concentrated wealth and considerable inequality. We think these traits make it a very good place to explore how basic income could work for our pilot.

It’s also close to where we live, which means we’ll be closer to the people involved.  We think our local resources and relationships will help us design and run this study effectively, and we hope that will enable us to produce the best research possible.

In our pilot, the income will be unconditional; we’re going to give it to participants for the duration of the study, no matter what. People will be able to volunteer, work, not work, move to another country—anything. We hope basic income promotes freedom, and we want to see how people experience that freedom.

If the pilot goes well, we plan to follow up with the main study. If the pilot doesn’t go well, we’ll consider different approaches.

And Some Thoughts on how We’re Thinking About Basic Income

We think everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs—no matter what, especially if there are enough resources to make it possible. We don’t yet know how it should look or how to pay for it, but basic income seems a promising way to do this.

One reason we think it may work is that technological improvements should generate an abundance of resources. Although basic income seems fiscally challenging today, in a world where technology replaces existing jobs and basic income becomes necessary, technological improvements should generate an abundance of resources and the cost of living should fall dramatically.

And to be clear: we think of basic income as providing a floor, and we believe people should be able to work and earn as much as they want.  We hope a minimum level of economic security will give people the freedom to pursue further education or training, find or create a better job, and plan for the future.

We’ll be spending the next few months designing the pilot, and we welcome any input to help us do the best job possible—especially from the Oakland community [1]. And again, we hope to follow-up with a long-term study on how people’s happiness, well-being, financial health, and time are affected.

If you have thoughts on either, please get in touch at basicincome@ycr.org.

-Elizabeth Rhodes, Matt Krisiloff, and Sam Altman

[1] We’ve already been connecting with Oakland city officials and community groups for feedback, but we’re planning to host some public events in Oakland to get more voices involved. Details to come.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1056013 2016-05-26T17:00:05Z 2018-05-02T19:46:35Z Sign up for Summer YC Open Office Hours

Starting today you can sign up for June, July and August YC Open Office Hours. 

What are Open Office Hours? Learn more here

June 23: Gen­eral Open Of­fice Hours
All founders are wel­come to apply.
Apply here by June 3

July 14: Black, Latino and Na­tive Amer­i­can Founders
Apply here by June 21 

Au­gust 11: Fe­male Founders
Apply here by July 15

What to Ex­pect
Each com­pany who par­tic­i­pates will get 25-minute of­fice hours with a YC part­ner. You can do them in per­son at our of­fice in Moun­tain View, CA or re­motely on Skype.

Star­tups should use these of­fice hours to fig­ure out con­crete steps they can take to build their MVP (min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct), re­cruit a co-found­ing team, raise seed cap­i­tal, launch, mar­ket their prod­uct, and ac­quire their first cus­tomers. Ad­di­tion­ally, Ama­zon is gen­er­ously of­fer­ing $5k in AWS credit for all par­tic­i­pat­ing teams.

Questions? Send them to openofficehours@ycombinator.com.

Want to help us spread the word? Email kat@ycombinator.com and michael@ycombinator.com.

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1055986 2016-05-26T09:00:09Z 2018-05-02T19:46:36Z Meet Sam Altman in Krakow, Paris and London

YC's Sam Altman will be in Krakow, Paris and London from June 3-7.

Join him at any of the events below for a conversation about startups, technology, hard tech, YC and more.

June 3, 6PM 
Krakow Startup Community Talk at Estimote HQ
Krakusa 11 Street, Stare Podgórze, Kraków
Learn More 

June 6, 12PM
Sam Altman at TheFamily
25 rue du Petit Musc, Paris

June 7, 3PM
Fireside Chat with Sam Altman + Mosaic Ventures
Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St., London
Learn More
Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1050870 2016-05-13T18:05:22Z 2018-05-02T19:46:37Z Pluot (W16) Makes Affordable Video Conferencing Hardware That Just Works

With companies increasingly doing business across multiple cities and countries from day one, video conferencing is key. But video conferencing hardware is notoriously bulky, expensive, and designed for companies with full-time IT teams that can handle set up and management. Startups and smaller businesses are left behind, crowding around a single laptop during team meetings, investor pitches, and sales demos.

Pluot is a company that launched out of our Winter 2016 class that makes small, easy-to-set-up video conferencing hardware that just works, and that any company can afford. The company's mission is to democratize video conferencing -- to put useful, beautiful, simple video conferencing into every workplace in the world.

Setting up a Pluot takes just five minutes, and starting or joining a Pluot meeting takes ten seconds. Pluot hardware is free. Customers just pay $50/month per Pluot box, with no limit on users, minutes, or meetings.

In addition, Pluot's features leapfrog those of much more expensive options. Pluot can drive two TVs, so teams have more screen real estate to work with during meetings, and Pluot supports two simultaneous screen shares. Every Pluot connection is peer-to-peer, secure, and encrypted end-to-end. If you have a conference room, you need a Pluot

You can buy a Pluot for your conference room today at https://pluot.co/. There's no commitment, no hidden fees, and -- as a launch special -- shipping is currently free. You can also try out the web browser version of the Pluot experience any time. Visit https://pluot.co/new using Chrome. Your browser will be redirected to a new, unique, Pluot meeting URL. Copy that URL and send it to someone else. When they click on the link, they'll be able to join you in the meeting. (There's no software to download, and no sign-in to worry about or remember.)

Pluot's founders, Doug and Kwin, have known each other for 20 years, worked together for 15, and been obsessed with video conferencing and collaboration for a decade. Doug and Kwin bootstrapped Pluot by designing high-quality hardware that can be manufactured in small quantities. The company assembles Pluots in a garage in San Francisco.

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1050010 2016-05-11T21:58:15Z 2018-05-02T19:46:37Z HARC

We’re excited to announce YC Research’s newest project: the Human Advancement Research Community (HARC).

This came out of a conversation that started between Alan Kay and me more than a year ago about how to invent future computing technologies; I’m delighted to finally be officially working with him and his group.  He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

HARC’s mission is to ensure human wisdom exceeds human power, by inventing and freely sharing ideas and technology that allow all humans to see further and understand more deeply.

The PIs at HARC wrote the following:

In our increasingly interconnected world, every individual’s actions can affect billions of others in complex and invisible ways. We believe every individual must have access to technologies that allow them to build their own understanding of the world and its systems in order to act conscientiously, responsibly, and effectively, both as individuals and in collaboration with others.

HARC researches technology in its broadest context, which includes: technology for communication (from the invention of spoken language to modern data graphics), intellectual tools (such as the scientific method and computer simulation), media (from cave painting to video games), and social systems (including democracy and public education). We are focusing on areas where we believe the structures created today will have the most impact on the future, and that can most benefit from having dedicated resources outside the for-profit world. At the moment, these areas include programming languages, interfaces, education, and virtual reality.

Our shared vision of technology combines an expansive long-term view with a strong moral sense. We look to the distant past as well as the far future. We reject the artificial boundaries created between the humanities, arts, and sciences. We don’t always agree on what is good or evil, right or wrong, but we use these words seriously and are driven by them. We seek to guide human technologies in thoughtful and ethical directions, with a deep sensitivity to the relationship between technology and the human condition, and the difference between what a piece of technology is intended to be and how it impacts humanity in reality.

In partnership with Infosys and SAP, HARC is starting with 20 of the top researchers in fields related to human learning and understanding, many of whom previously worked in SAP’s Communications Design Group. They include Principal Investigators (in alphabetical order): Vi Hart, Dan Ingalls, John Maloney, Yoshiki Ohshima, Bret Victor, and Alex Warth.  

We will share more detail about each PI’s current projects once we settle into our new roles and establish a web presence.

HARC will be chaired by Patrick Scaglia, who has spent his career leading similar long-term research initiatives. Alan Kay and Patrick will jointly contribute to the group’s strategic vision. Chris Clark will run the group operationally (along with YCR’s other groups).

The Advisory Board includes Patrick Collison, Adele Goldberg, Alan Kay, Vishal Sikka, and Tanja Rueckert.

Special thanks to Infosys, SAP, Sam, Alan, and Patrick for their generous support and hard work creating HARC, and we look forward to sharing more about our research in a few weeks.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1039077 2016-04-22T21:37:56Z 2018-05-02T19:46:38Z Restocks (YC W16) Helps You Track and Buy the Most Coveted, Hard-To-Find Products

As more and more brands release products with extremely limited availability, consumers have resorted to camping out, spending hours in digital queues, or paying upwards of 400% over retail for coveted items like limited edition sneakers and apparel.

Restocks is a company that launched out of our Winter 2016 class that does all the hard work of finding he most in-demand items, with a subscription service which alerts users of the availability of popular but hard-to-find products. Restocks has created the first central place where stock information is stored and pushed out to the people who care most about it, with software that tracks 45,000 products in real time.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino wrote an in-depth review of Restocks this week:

"Over the past couple of months, I’ve purchased more items through Restocks than any other mobile commerce app aside from Amazon. And I’d wager that aside from a couple of statistical outliers each of those purchases were for more money on average.

Restocks is the answer to a simple question: What if you could target the world’s most ravenous purchasers at the exact moment they’re most likely to buy some of the world’s most sought after products?

Restocks is app that drives purchasing via push notifications when highly anticipated shoes and streetwear brands (for now) release or re-stock items. It’s also cost me hundreds of dollars over the few weeks I’ve been testing it. From limited release Nike shoes to boutique brands like Supreme, Reigning Champ, Concepts and Kith — each purchase is a push notification and a couple of taps away.

Restocks is on my home screen. Amazon isn’t even home screen worthy."

Read the full article here, and check out Restocks here.

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1023533 2016-04-01T17:50:18Z 2018-05-02T19:46:39Z Y Sequoia Combination

Today, Y Combinator announced its intent to acquire Sequoia Capital. This deal is still pending regulatory review and a successful pitch by Sequoia managing partner Doug Leone on YC Summer 2016 Demo Day. We’re not disclosing the financial terms, but Sequoia's ownership of YC-backed companies will pass to us, so I’ll just say we're once again the largest outside shareholders in Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.

Sequoia Capital has had an Incredible Journey being the leader in venture capital investing in Silicon Valley for most of the last 40 years.  They have partnered with iconic companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal, YouTube, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp.

The acquisition will enable our firms to realize a number of operational synergies. We have a blog and Sequoia doesn’t. Sequoia’s day-long Monday partner meetings will be replaced with Tuesday night dinners. And now YC companies will automatically receive a Sequoia term sheet to negotiate better terms from other firms. Sequoia will become the new YCVC group*, where they will take a hands-on role of turning YC’s best companies into enduring franchises, which they have been doing anyway.

The combined entity will officially be called “Sequoia Combinator”, but will do business as “YC”, as brevity is very important to both organizations. The new YC logo will be changed from orange to green as it is the color of sequoia leaves and money. Sir Michael Moritz will become chairman and also return to his journalistic roots as editor of Hacker News. Sequoia will help launch YC China, YC India, and YC Israel, and YC Forestry, which will be focused on preservation of sequoia trees worldwide.

Alfred Lin from Sequoia adds “YC is a perfect match for Sequoia because YC has been such a great source of deal flow for us. We don’t have to beg to invest in them anymore.”

Justin Kan from YC adds “Sequoia has so many partners on the Midas List and we’re really looking forward to learning from real investors.”

We are so excited for the future!


*Sequoia LPs will have 30 days to export their data.

Sam Altman
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1022957 2016-03-31T19:40:18Z 2018-05-02T19:46:42Z First Fellowship Virtual Demo Day

Congratulations to the Fellowship teams who presented at the first Fellowship Virtual Demo Day! 

Find out more about the F2 Fellowship companies here: 

Awesound - AdWords for podcasts

BillionToOne - Fetal genetic testing in India

Bulletin - Airbnb for Retail

Cerplus - B2B marketplace for surplus produce

ConnectHealth - Telemedicine and prescription delivery in Africa

Ctzen - 311 for the developing world

GTRACK Technologies - Nanoparticle tracers for fracking

HDP Health - Helping clinical trials find patients using AI

Ilium VR - Rifle controller for virtual reality

Instrumentl - Concierge service for research

Mentat - Concierge service for jobseekers

Müvr Labs - Fitbit for your knees

OMG Digital- Buzzfeed for Africa

Palaround - Tinder for private networks

Pramp - P2P practice for livecoding interviews

Queen B Robotics - Drones for virtual reality content

Rent Scene - Apartment hunters for busy people

Sage - Uber for eldercare workers

SmartSite - Automated health monitoring for construction sites

Spotbot - Track website changes in Slack

Squire - OpenTable for barbershops

Suto - Personalized product recommendations on demand

Sway - Chatbot for company finances

The Flex Company - Menstrual product for mess-free period sex

Zube - Project management for Github issues

If you're an accredited investor who would like access to the Fellowship's Virtual Demo Day contact fellowship@ycombinator.com.

Y Combinator
tag:ycblog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1021758 2016-03-29T23:45:09Z 2018-05-02T19:46:42Z Goodybag (YC W16) Simplifies Catering for Enterprises

Anyone who has used a catering service for meetings or corporate gatherings can explain how frustrating the entire process is. What seems like a simple task actually involves searching through various vendors, determining dietary restrictions, planning logistics, and invoicing the order.

Goodybag is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that streamlines the corporate meal-ordering process. Anyone can log onto the site and browse through local caterers before ordering online. In addition to ease of use, Goodybag also offers live customer support. Unlike other on-demand food delivery services, Goodybag does not actually deliver anything. Rather, it is a self-serve marketplace that allows companies to compare and book meals for specific events. Because of this, Goodybag can scale rapidly without being lost in unit economics.

The three behind Goodybag are Jay Panchal, Om Panchal, and Jag Santha. Jay Panchal and Jag Santha met in college at Georgia Institute of Technology while studying Systems Engineering. Om Panchal, Jay's brother, studied Biology at Southwestern University. 

Goodybag has done over $5.5M in orders from just the Austin, Houston, Seattle, and Nashville area.  

Learn more about Goodybag here.

Steven Chan