Q&A with YC Continuity's Ali Rowghani

Today we announced Continuity, a new venture capital fund run by Y Combinator. You can read our blog post here, and coverage from the Wall Street Journal here.

Below, Continuity's Ali Rowghani answers a few commonly-asked questions about what Continuity is, how it will work, where it fits within the venture capital landscape, and why he decided to lead this effort at YC.

What is the Continuity Fund?

Ali Rowghani: The Continuity Fund is YC’s follow-on investment fund that will allow us to provide capital to YC companies years after they graduate from our program.  

How will the Continuity Fund invest capital?

AR: The Continuity Fund will invest capital in two ways:
  • First, we will exercise YC’s pro rata investing rights in follow-on financing rounds, beginning with the Series A.  For rounds priced below $300M, we will exercise our pro rata rights in a programmatic fashion.  In other words, we expect to exercise pro rata rights in all YC companies that raise capital at valuations below $300M.  For rounds priced above $300M, we will exercise our rights more selectively.
  • Secondly, and on a purely elective basis, we will consider leading or participating in growth financing rounds of YC companies.  For these elective investments, we are open to taking Board seats where it makes sense for founders, but do not expect to do so in every investment.

Will the Continuity Fund invest in any non-YC companies?

AR: No. Our focus is exclusively on companies that have been through our program.
Why did YC decide to raise this fund?
AR: The idea actually came to us from our founders, many of whom have encouraged us to raise a fund so that YC could remain a financing partner for them as they grew their companies.  We ultimately decided to do so because we realized that the ability to provide capital beyond the seed stage was pretty crucial to fulfilling our mission of enabling more innovation in the world.

Isn’t this Fund going to bring you into conflict with VCs?

AR: We will not be competing with early stage VCs at all.  These investors are vital parts of the startup ecosystem, and we have no desire to compete with or otherwise disrupt this ecosystem.  So other than exercising our pro rata rights, the Continuity Fund will not be investing in seed or traditional Series A rounds.But as we all know, good companies are staying private longer, and the market for private growth capital has grown considerably. These later stage rounds tend to be larger, shared rounds rather than winner-take-all. 

So while some competition is unavoidable, we foresee a lot of collaboration with other late stage investors as well.

Why did you decide to lead the Continuity Fund?

AR: Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked at two iconic companies, Pixar and Twitter, and helped them manage rapid growth and scale.  I joined YC as a part-time partner last November precisely to help maturing companies in the YC portfolio with these same challenges.

I didn’t realize at the time how truly distinctive YC  is.  There’s no other organization in the world that has the kind of founder network and loyalty that YC possesses.  Having observed the last two YC batches closely, there’s no doubt in my mind that YC dramatically increases the probability of success for every one of its companies...not just the probability of raising Series A capital, but also the probability of building great long-lasting companies.  

So when Sam asked me if I would be interested in leading the Continuity Fund, I realized that this was an opportunity to extend the mission and impact of YC into more mature companies.  Supplying capital is one part of that mission.  But supplying meaningful company-building help and advice for rapidly scaling companies is even more important, and that’s something that my prior operating experiences have prepared me well to do.

YC Office Hours at Money20/20 - 10/27

YC partner Aaron Harris will be hosting office hours with startups at Money20/20 on October 27.

Sign up here.

Aaron will meet teams from 2pm-6pm PT on Tuesday, October 27. Office hours are 20 minutes each. We recommend coming with a specific question or challenge that you want feedback on.

If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot and where you'll be meeting by Friday, October 23.

See you there! 

UI/UX for Startups Livestreamed on Platzi - 10/12

Y Combinator's Kevin Hale will be hosting a talk at Stanford about UI/UX for Startups this Monday, Oct 12 at 5pm PT. Find out more here

If you can't make it in person, the talk will be livestreamed on Platzi. Sign up to watch the class.

Kevin will walk you through best practices for UI/UX design. Learn what elements every startup needs on their site, and see him do live UX reviews of products built by people in the audience.

If you'd like your site to be considered for live review, let us know here: https://ycombinatorevents.wufoo.com/forms/live-ux-review-at-stanford/

The talk will be followed by Q&A.

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YC Fall 2015 College Tour: Next week we'll be at Harvard, NYU, UIUC, and Columbia



YC Alum






YC Fall 2015 College Tour

How do you come up with an idea?
What makes a great founding team?
How do you raise money from investors? 

Join YC partners and alumni at colleges around the country. Hear their stories and find out what it's really like to start a startup. You'll also have the chance to sign up for one-on-one office hours. 

9/19: Hack the North at the University of Waterloo
> 11am ET, Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo 
More Info and RSVP

9/25: YC at University of Michigan with MPowered
> 6pm ET, TechArb, 500 E Washington St #10, Ann Arbor, MI
> More Info and RSVP
> Sign up for office hours: Email mpowered-contact@umich.edu

9/27: Startup@Brown 
> Alumnae Hall, 194 Meeting St., Providence RI
> 11:15am ET - UX Workshop with Kevin Hale, 12pm ET - Keynote
More Info 
> Sign up for office hours

9/28: YC at Harvard
> 7pm ET, Harvard Innovation Lab - Lobby Area, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA
> More info 

9/28-9/29: YC Office Hours in Boston
> Sign up for office hours 

9/30: YC at NYU
> 6pm ET, Stern School for Business, 44 West 4th, Room 5-90, New York, NY
> More info
> Sign up for office hours 

10/1: YC at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
> 5:30 CT, 1404 Auditorium in Siebel Center, 201 N Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL
> More Info and RSVP
> Sign up for office hours

10/1: YC at Columbia University
> 7:30pm ET, Lerner C555, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY
> More Info and RSVP
> Sign up for office hours

10/6: YC at Carnegie Mellon University
> 5:30pm ET, Rashid Auditorium - Gates Hillman Center, Room 4401, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
> More Info and RSVP
> Sign up for office hours

10/12: YC at Stanford University
> More Info and RSVP

Questions? Email kat@ycombinator.com

YC at Hack the North

Y Combinator partners and alumni will be at Hack the North at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, September 19. 

Join us for a panel on how to "Do Things That Don't Scale" or sign up for one-on-one office hours with a YC partner or alum.

Y Combinator Presents: "Do Things That Don't Scale" at Hack the North
Sat, Sept 19, 2015 from 11am-12:30pm ET
Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo
Livestream: http://hackthenorth.com/live
RSVP for non-Hack the North attendees only (Hack the North attendees have reserved seating already)

Office Hours with YC partners and alumni
Sat, Sept 19, 2015 from 2pm-5pm ET
Office hours will be 20 minutes each. If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot, who you'll be meeting with, and the location.
Sign up by 9am on Thursday, September 17

See you there! 
- YC Team

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