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.

We Make Mistakes

We’ve just finished reviewing applications for the Winter 2015 batch and have sent out invitations for interviews. In this cycle we saw a +40% increase in the number of companies applying over the Summer 2014 batch. 

Reviewing this many companies is a humbling experience and one we take very seriously. Most of us who work for YC are alums and understand the gravity and emotion that can go into submissions. We know it’s tough to separate your own identity from the company you have founded so applying can be quite personal.

If you applied, you should not take our evaluation as either a final judgment or perfect assessment of your company. This applies to both the companies that did and did not get invited to interviews. We are sure we missed some great companies as a byproduct of operating at this scale. Don’t let funding take your eye off the goal: making something people want. Everything else, including going through Y Combinator, is there to support that goal but is not the goal itself.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank our alumni publicly. They are the invisible hand that helps our small organization with this significant task. Often YC founders themselves will tell you that the best thing about YC is to learn from a cohort of like minds with similar ambitions. YC would not work without the 1,400+ alumni founders who take their time to help us and each other.

Finally, many companies at this stage can seem small but we noticed that they are more ambitious than ever. We love that. It refutes the meme that early stage companies today are too myopic or working on incremental improvements. It’s an easy complaint to lob at founders who are in the field toiling away but one that seems to be off the mark.