Y Combinator (company)

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Y Combinator
Limited liability company
Industry Venture capital
Founded March 2005
Founder Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell, Jessica Livingston
Headquarters Mountain View, California, United States
Number of locations
2 offices (2014)
Key people
Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell, Sam Altman, Paul Buchheit, Dalton Caldwell, Kate Courteau, Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Justin Kan, Carolynn Levy, Jon Levy, Kat Manalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Michael Seibel, Garry Tan, Qasar Younis, Harj Taggar, Alexis Ohanian, Brian Chesky, Adora Cheung, Patrick Collison, Drew Houston, David Rusenko, Emmett Shear
Products Investments
Website www.ycombinator.com
Paul Graham talking about Prototype Day at Y Combinator Summer 2009

Y Combinator is an American seed fund, started in March 2005. Twice a year they invest a small amount of money in a large number of startups. Y Combinator provides seed money, advice, and connections to startups in exchange for 7% equity.[1] YC startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, and the YC partners work closely with each company to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each batch culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected audience of investors. As of Winter 2015, Y Combinator has invested in over 840 companies including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Zenefits, Instacart and Weebly. The combined market capitalization of YC companies is over $30B.[2]

Program[edit]

Wired has called Y Combinator a "boot camp for startups" and "the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs".[3]

The program consists of "office hours", where startup founders meet individually and in groups with Y Combinator partners for advice. Founders also participate in weekly dinners where guests from the silicon valley ecosystem (successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists etc) speak to the founders. The program aims to focus the founders on working intensively on further developing their product, team and market, refining their Business Model Canvas, achieving product/market fit, scaling the startup into a high growth business, etc. The program culminates at Demo Day where startups present their business to a selected audience of investors.[4]

History[edit]

Y Combinator was started in 2005 by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Trevor Blackwell and Robert Morris. [5] From 2005 to 2008 one program was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and one was held in Mountain View, California. In January 2009, Y Combinator announced that the Cambridge program would be closed and all future programs would take place in Silicon Valley.[6]

In 2009, Y Combinator partnered with Sequoia Capital and angel investors such as Ron Conway, Paul Buchheit and Aydin Senkut to further the support of the young startups with increased funding.[7]

Then in 2011, Yuri Milner and SV Angel offered every Y Combinator company a $150,000 convertible note investment.[8] The amount put in to each company was changed to $80,000 when Start Fund was renewed.[9]

In September 2013, Paul Graham announced Y Combinator would fund nonprofit organizations accepted into its program after having tested the concept with Watsi (while continuing to fund mostly for-profit startups).[10]

In 2014, founder Paul Graham announced he was stepping down and that Sam Altman would take over as President of Y Combinator.[11] That same year, Altman announced "The New Deal" for YC startups, which offers $120,000 for 7% equity.[12]

In February 2015, Sam Altman announced a partnership with Bolt and increased support for hardware companies.[13]

People[edit]

Y Combinator was founded in March 2005 by Paul Graham with his Viaweb co-founders Robert Morris and Trevor Blackwell, as well as Jessica Livingston, who Graham later married.

In early 2010, Harj Taggar, cofounder of Y Combinator-funded Auctomatic, joined as an advisor. In September 2010, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Y Combinator-backed Reddit, joined.[14] In November 2010, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and Harj Taggar were named partners.[15] In 2015, Taggar left YC to start TripleByte, a startup aiming to assist companies with their technical hiring needs.[16]

In January 2011, Y Combinator-backed Posterous co-founder Garry Tan joined YC, first as designer-in-residence and later as partner.[17]

In the summer of 2014, Sam Altman became president of Y Combinator.[18] Y Combinator also announced a Board of Overseers: Brian Chesky, cofounder of AirBnB, Adora Cheung, cofounder of HomeJoy, Patrick Collison, cofounder of Stripe, Drew Houston, founder of DropBox, Jessica Livingston, David Rusenko, Emmett Shear, and Sam Altman, cofounder of Loopt.

As of May 2015, additional Y Combinator partners are Dalton Caldwell, founder of imeem and app.net; Kevin Hale, cofounder of Wufoo; Aaron Harris, cofounder of Tutorspree; Justin Kan, cofounder of Exec, Twitch.tv and Justin.tv; Attorneys Carolyn Levy and Jon Levy; Kat Manalac; Kirsty Nathoo; Geoff Ralston, creator of Rocketmail; Michael Seibel, cofounder of Socialcam; and Qasar Younis, cofounder of Talkbin. Kate Courteau is the director of Y Combinator's non-profit program. [19]

Notable portfolio companies[edit]

As of March 2015, Y Combinator had funded over 840 startups.[20] The number of startups funded in each cycle has been gradually increasing. The first cycle, in summer 2005, had eight startups. In the winter of 2015 cycle, there were more than 100.

Some of the better-known funded companies include Reddit, Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits, Instacart and Stripe.

The combined market cap of Y Combinator companies is currently over $30 billion.[21]

Nonprofits[edit]

In 2013, Y Combinator began accepting nonprofit organizations. Notable Y Combinator-backed nonprofits include Watsi (crowdfunding medical treatment in developing countries), Immunity Project (using machine learning to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine), Noora Health (empowering patient family caregivers to take better care of their loved ones at home), CareMessage (using mobile technology to help improve health outcomes for underserved patients) and Zidisha (direct person-to-person lending to developing countries).[22]

Kate Courteau runs Y Combinator's non-profit program.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Altman, Sam. "The New Deal". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Truong, Alice. "The Value of Y Combinator's Portfolio Exceeds 30 Billion". Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Levy, Steven (2011-05-17). "Y Combinator Is Boot Camp for Startups". Wired. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  4. ^ Graham, Paul. "What happens at YC". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "How Y Combinator Started". Paul Graham. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  6. ^ "California Year-Round". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Y Combinator Gets The Sequoia Capital Seal Of Approval". TechCrunch. 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Start Fund: Yuri Milner, SV Angel Offer EVERY New Y Combinator Startup $150k". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  9. ^ Rao, Leena Rao. "Y Combinator’s YC VC Will Replace The Start Fund; Includes Yuri Milner, Andreessen Horowitz But Offers Less Money". 
  10. ^ Ken Yeung (6 September 2013). "Y Combinator To Fund Non-Profit Startups With Charitable Donations". The Next Web. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sam Altman for President". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  12. ^ "The New Deal". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  13. ^ "YC for Hardware". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2015-02-05. 
  14. ^ Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 (2010-09-01). "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian To Join Y Combinator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  15. ^ Graham, Paul (2010-11-12). "Y Combinator announces two new partners, Paul Buchheit and Harj Taggar". Y Combinator Posterous. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  16. ^ Former YC Partner Harj Taggar Is Building The New Technical Hiring Pipeline With TripleByte (May 7, 2015), Kim-Mai Cutler, TechCrunch
  17. ^ Melanson, Mike (2011-01-14). "Posterous Co-Founder Garry Tan Leaves for Y Combinator". Readwriteweb.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Sam Altman for President". YCombinator blog. February 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Partners". Y Combinator. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Manalac, Kat. "YC Stats Winter 2015". Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Manalac, Kat. "YC Stats Winter 2015". Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Zidisha Is International Microlending, Immunity Project Is An HIV Vaccine; Two Nonprofits Currently Doing Y Combinator". January 24, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]