Garry Tan

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Garry Tan
Tân Ka-heng
Tan at Web Summit 2018
Born1981 (age 41–42)
Winnipeg, Canada
Alma materStanford University
OccupationVenture capitalist
Known forY Combinator
Initialized Capital

Garry Tan (Chinese: 陳嘉興; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tân Ka-heng; born 1981) is an American venture capitalist and executive who is the CEO of Y Combinator[1] and a founder of Initialized Capital. [2] He previously co-founded Posterous and Posthaven.[3] He was an early employee at Palantir Technologies, and previously a partner at Y Combinator.[4] Tan is also known for his known for his engagement in San Francisco politics, both as a commenter on social media and as a political donor.

Early life and education[edit]

Tan was born in 1981[5] to a Chinese Singaporean father and a Burmese-Chinese mother in Winnipeg, Canada.[6][5] The family settled in Fremont, California in 1991, and Tan graduated from American High School.[6][5] He started programming at 14 and found his first job by cold-calling the Yellow Pages.[7]

He attended Stanford University from 1999 to 2003, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Computer Systems Engineering.[5]


Tan worked at Microsoft and then became the 10th employee at Palantir Technologies.[5] In 2008, Tan co-founded Posterous, a blogging platform, which was acquired by Twitter in 2012 for $20 million.[7] He co-founded Posthaven after the shutdown of Posterous.[8] He joined Y Combinator in 2011 as a designer in residence and partner.[5][9][10] At Y Combinator, Tan helped compile a directory of "the best and the brightest interaction designers and visual designers" and wrote Coinbase’s first seed round check in 2012.[7][11] While at Y Combinator, Tan and fellow Y Combinator partners raised $7 million in venture capital funding to support Y Combinator alumni companies, including Instacart and Coinbase.[10]

Tan was a founder of Initialized Capital, a venture capital fund.[12] In 2012, Tan raised $7 million for Initialized Capital’s first funding round.[13] In 2013, Tan, Harjeet Taggar, and Alexis Ohanian raised $39 million for Initialized Capital.[5][14][10] In 2016, Initialized Capital raised a $115 million third fund.[10] The latest fund was closed in December 2021 for $700 million.[13] Through Initialized, Tan led investments in Instacart, Coinbase, and Flexport.[15]

Tan has been listed on the Forbes Midas List from 2018–2022.[16][17][18][19]

In August 2022, Y Combinator announced that Tan would become president of the company in January 2023, replacing Geoff Ralston.[20]


Tan, a registered Democrat as of 2023, has been noted for his involvement in San Francisco politics, both by directing attention to various topics via his social media presence (with 362,000 followers on Twitter/X and around a quarter million subscribers on YouTube, as of September 2023) and through donations (having contributed over $278,000 to political campaigns from early 2021 to September 2023).[21]

Tan has donated to YIMBY groups such as the San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation, YIMBY Action, and YIMBY Law.[5] In 2020, Tan said in an interview that he followed San Francisco housing news, and supported housing of all kinds, including market-rate housing, affordable housing, and homeless shelters.[15]

Tan donated at least $54,500 to GrowSF, a San Francisco pro-growth political group.[5]

In 2021-2022, Tan gave at least $188,451 to local political causes.[5]

In 2021-2022, Tan promoted and raised funds for the recall of members of the San Francisco School Board. Tan himself donated $20,000 to the campaign, and fundraised from friends like Cyan Banister. He promoted the recall and raised money from his Twitter following.[5]

Tan supported the 2022 recall campaign against progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Tan donated at least $100,000 to the effort.[5][22] Tan blamed Boudin for physical attacks on Asians. Tan alleged that Boudin failed to hold violent criminal offenders accountable and failed to protect the general public, particularly the least advantaged.[22] After the recall campaign succeeded, Tan supported the election of appointed District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, and appointed Supervisor Matt Dorsey.[23]

In 2023, Tan implored tech leaders to participate in San Francisco local politics, highlighting substance abuse, public education, and housing as key issues.[24]


As of 2023, Tan lives in Noe Valley, San Francisco with his wife and two children.[5][15][21]


  1. ^ Pardes, Arielle (September 2, 2022). "Silicon Valley's Most Powerful 'Mafia' Gets a New Boss". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  2. ^ Ranberger, Madeline; Russell, Melia (August 29, 2022). "Y Combinator's all-star alum and VC Garry Tan returns to take over the accelerator as its chief executive". Business Insider. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  3. ^ "Posterous Will Shut Down On April 30th, Co-Founder Garry Tan Launches Posthaven To Save Your Sites". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  4. ^ Gendron, Will (May 11, 2023). "Y Combinator CEO on leaving Palantir: 'I'm working like a dog for Peter Thiel... Who's the real chump?'". Business Insider. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lucas, Scott (June 3, 2022). "Let Everyone Else Have Miami: Garry Tan Will Take San Francisco". The Information. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Y Combinator's Garry Tan Declares War on San Francisco Politics". The San Francisco Standard. September 27, 2023. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Cheng, Candy (August 15, 2021). "VC Garry Tan wrote Coinbase its first funding check 9 years ago. This week, he'll watch the company go public at a $100 billion valuation". Business Insider. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  8. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (September 18, 2013). "Posthaven Rises From Posterous' Ashes To Launch "E-Mail To Post" As It Reaches Financial Sustainability". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  9. ^ Loizos, Connie (November 6, 2015). "Garry Tan Says Goodbye to Y Combinator". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Konrad, Alex (July 9, 2018). "At Initialized Capital, Odd Couple Alexis Ohanian And Garry Tan Look To Do VC Differently". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  11. ^ O'Dell, Jolie (February 1, 2011). "Y Combinator Launching Designer Directory". Mashable. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  12. ^ "SEC FORM D/A". Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Sarah McBride (December 14, 2021). "Initialized Capital Raises $700 Million, Launches 2 New Funds". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  14. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (August 1, 2013). "YC Partners Taggar, Tan And Reddit Co-Founder Ohanian Raise $39M For Initialized Capital". Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Rinker, Brian (September 21, 2020). "Money Talks: Garry Tan of Initialized Capital on why YIMBYism is the answer to SF's housing crises". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  16. ^ "Newcomers To The 2019 Midas List: Who Cracked The Ranks Of Best VCs In The World". Forbes. April 2, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Midas List". Forbes. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  18. ^ "The Midas List". Forbes. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  19. ^ "The 2018 Midas Brink List: Meet Venture Capital's Up-And-Comers". Forbes. April 3, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  20. ^ "Welcome home Garry Tan". Y Combinator. August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  21. ^ a b Koehn, Josh (September 27, 2023). "Y Combinator's Garry Tan Declares War on San Francisco Politics". The San Francisco Standard. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Cassidy, Megan (April 3, 2022). "These are the ultra-wealthy donors pouring money into the Chesa Boudin recall battle". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  23. ^ Hicks, William (August 30, 2022). "Y Combinator's new president a key figure in tech — and S.F. politics". The Business Journals. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  24. ^ Truong, Kevin (May 11, 2023). "Y Combinator CEO: Techies Will Win San Francisco Politics". The San Francisco Standard. Retrieved August 24, 2023.

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