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Jessica Livingston

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Jessica Livingston
Livingston at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2014
Born1971 (age 52–53)
Alma materBucknell University (BA)
Occupation(s)Businesswoman, Writer, Venture Capitalist
OrganizationY Combinator
Known forCo-founding Y Combinator, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
Notable workFounders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
SpousePaul Graham

Jessica Livingston (born 1971) is an American founding partner of the seed stage venture firm Y Combinator and author.[1][2][3] She is the wife of founding partner Paul Graham.

Early life and education[edit]

Livingston grew up in the Boston area.[4] In 1989, she graduated from Phillips Academy.[5] She received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English from Bucknell University.[6]


Prior to founding Y Combinator, Livingston was vice president of marketing at Adams Harkness Financial Group.[7]

Livingston met Paul Graham, Robert Morris and Trevor Blackwell (the co-founders of dot-com company Viaweb) at a party in Cambridge.[4] They discussed creating a startup incubator and in 2005 the four co-founded Y Combinator. In the early days of YC, Livingston and Graham hosted weekly meals for their founders at their home near Cambridge.[8] Sam Altman (a former YC partner) credits Livingston with being essential to the transformation of Y Combinator into a startup ecosystem.[9] When Graham stepped down from his role leading Y Combinator, handing over to Altman, Livingston increased her day to day involvement, including having responsibility for the organisation's Startup School.[10]

In 2016, she took a year-long sabbatical from the incubator, to spend time with her family and consider projects and other things she wanted to pursue.[11]

In early 2007, Livingston published Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days, a collection of interviews with famous startup founders, including Steve Wozniak.[12]

In 2013, Livingston launched the Female Founders conference with the aim of inspiring more women to found startup companies.[11]

Livingston is one of the financial backers of OpenAI, a for-profit company aiming to develop artificial general intelligence.[13]


In 2023, she started co-hosting The Social Radars Podcast alongside Carolyn Levy.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Livingston married Paul Graham in 2008.[15] Since late 2016, she and her family have resided in the United Kingdom.[8]


  1. ^ Flaim, Kate Bonamici; Livingston, Jessica (April 4, 2009). "How Y Combinator Schools Tech Startups". Fast Company. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Chafkin, Max (June 1, 2009). "The Start-up Guru: Y Combinator's Paul Graham, Page 2". Inc.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "Grow the Puzzle Around You". Jessica Livingston. June 30, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "VC Corner: Jessica Livingston of Y Combinator (Stripe, Reddit, Weebly, Dropbox, OpenAI)". Startup Grind. Archived from the original on July 1, 2023. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  5. ^ "Jessica Livingston". foundersatwork.posthaven.com. Archived from the original on November 27, 2023.
  6. ^ "People". Y Combinator. Archived from the original on November 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "Jessica Livingston: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Schubarth, Cromwell (March 23, 2018). "YC co-founder recalls rejecting Drew Houston's first idea and Dropbox's early days". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Archived from the original on June 3, 2023. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  9. ^ "PG and Jessica". Sam Altman. September 25, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  10. ^ Mangalindan, JP (August 21, 2014). "Y Combinator's Jessica Livingston: We're as relevant as ever". Fortune. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  11. ^ a b Yeung, Ken (April 5, 2016). "Y Combinator cofounder Jessica Livingston to take year-long sabbatical". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on August 26, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  12. ^ Taulli, Tom (May 30, 2007). "Foolish Book Review: "Founders at Work"". The Motley Fool.
  13. ^ Priestly, Theo (December 11, 2015). "Elon Musk And Peter Thiel Launch OpenAI, A Non-Profit Artificial Intelligence Research Company". Forbes. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Social Radars on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. January 29, 2024. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  15. ^ "Congrats to PG on getting hitched". news.ycombinator.com. June 2, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2008.