Y Combinator (company)

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This article is about the company named 'Y Combinator'. For the combinator called 'Y' in the theory of computation, see Fixed-point_combinator#Fixed_point_combinators_in_lambda_calculus.
Y Combinator
Limited liability company
Industry Venture capital
Founded March 2005
Founder Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell,
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, Jared Friedman, Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Justin Kan, Carolynn Levy, Jon Levy, Kat Manalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Michael Seibel, Qasar Younis, Brian Chesky, Adora Cheung, Patrick Collison, Drew Houston, David Rusenko, Emmett Shear, Ilya Sukhar
Products Investments
Website www.ycombinator.com
Paul Graham talking about Prototype Day at Y Combinator Summer 2009

Y Combinator is an American startup fund, started in March 2005. Fast Company has called YC "the world's most powerful start-up incubator".[1] Fortune has called Y Combinator "a spawning ground for emerging tech giants"[2]

Programs[edit]

In its main program, Y Combinator interviews and selects two batches of companies per year. The companies receive seed money, advice, and connections in exchange for 7% equity.[3] The program includes "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.

Y Combinator’s motto is “Make Something People Want.”[4] The program aims to focus the founders on further developing their product, team and market, refining their business model, achieving product/market fit, and 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.[5]

As of August 2015, Y Combinator had invested in ~940 companies including Dropbox, Airbnb, Coinbase, Stripe, Reddit, Zenefits, Machine Zone, Instacart and Weebly, and the combined market capitalization of YC companies was over $65B.[6]

Non-profit organizations can also participate in the main YC program.[7]

In 2015 YC introduced additional programs:

  • In July 2015, Y Combinator introduced the YC Fellowship Program, aimed at companies at an earlier stage than the main program.[8]
  • In October 2015, Y Combinator introduced the YC Continuity Fund. The fund allows Y Combinator to make pro rata investments in their alumni companies with valuations under $300 million. Y Combinator will also consider leading or participating in later stage growth financing rounds for YC cpmpanies.[9]
  • In October 2015 YC introduced YC Research, to fund long-term fundamental research. YC President Sam Altman donated $10m.[10]

History[edit]

Y Combinator was started in 2005 by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Trevor Blackwell and Robert Morris.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Then in 2011, Yuri Milner and SV Angel offered every Y Combinator company a $150,000 convertible note investment.[14] The amount put in to each company was changed to $80,000 when Start Fund was renewed.[15]

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).[16]

In 2014, founder Paul Graham announced he was stepping down and that Sam Altman would take over as President of Y Combinator.[17] That same year, Altman announced "The New Deal" for YC startups, which offers $120,000 for 7% equity.[18]

Late in 2014, Sam Altman announced a partnership with Transcriptic to provide increased support for Y Combinator's growing community of biotech companies. [19] Then in 2015, he announced a partnership with Bolt and increased support for hardware companies.[20]

People[edit]

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

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.[21] In November 2010, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, not known in 2010 to have any ethical controversies, and Harj Taggar were named partners.[22] In 2015, Taggar left YC to start Triplebyte, a startup aiming to assist companies with their technical hiring needs.[23]

In January 2011, Y Combinator-backed Posterous co-founder Garry Tan joined YC, first as designer-in-residence and later as partner.[24]

Later in 2011, Aaron Iba joined as a partner.[25]

In the summer of 2014, Sam Altman became president of Y Combinator.[26] 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.

In January 2015 it was announced that Paul Buchheit would be named managing partner for Y Combinator's core program and Kevin Hale would be the managing partner for the Fellowship.[27]

As of February 2015, additional Y Combinator partners are Dalton Caldwell, founder of imeem and app.net; Jared Friedman, founder of Scribd; Kevin Hale, cofounder of Wufoo; Aaron Harris, cofounder of Tutorspree; Justin Kan, cofounder of Exec, Twitch.tv and Justin.tv; Attorneys Carolynn Levy and Jon Levy; Kat Manalac; Kirsty Nathoo; Geoff Ralston, creator of Rocketmail; Michael Seibel, cofounder of Socialcam; and Qasar Younis, cofounder of Talkbin. Ali Rowghani is the managing partner of YC Continuity.[28]

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).[29]

YC Fellowship[edit]

The YC Fellowship Program was announced in July 2015, with the goal of funding companies at the idea or prototype stage.[8] The first batch of YC Fellowship included 32 companies that received an equity-free grant instead of an investment.[30]

In January 2016 Y Combinator announced version 2 of the program, with participating companies receiving $20k investment for an 1.5% equity stake. The equity stake is structured as a convertible security that only converts into shares if a company has an IPO, or a funding event or acquisition that values the company at $100m or more.[31]

YC Research[edit]

YC Research logo

YC Research was announced in October 2015. It is a nonprofit research lab focused on work that requires a very long time horizon, seeks to answer very open-ended questions, or develops technology that shouldn’t be owned by any one company. Researchers are paid as full time employees and can receive equity in Y Combinator. [32] [33] [34] OpenAI was the first project undertaken by YC Research, and in January 2015 a second study on basic income was also announced. [35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fastcompany.com/section/the-y-combinator-chronicles
  2. ^ Rao, Leena (2015-08-26). "Meet Y Combinator's New COO". Fortune. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  3. ^ Altman, Sam. "The New Deal". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Graham, Paul. "Be Good". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Graham, Paul. "What happens at YC". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Altman, Sam. "YC Stats". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  7. ^ http://www.ycombinator.com/nonprofits/
  8. ^ a b Loizos, Connie. "Y Combinator Just Introduced a New Program to Reach Up to "1,000" Companies Per Year". Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Altman, Sam. "YC Continuity". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  10. ^ http://blog.ycombinator.com/yc-research
  11. ^ "How Y Combinator Started". Paul Graham. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  12. ^ "California Year-Round". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  13. ^ "Y Combinator Gets The Sequoia Capital Seal Of Approval". TechCrunch. 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  14. ^ "Start Fund: Yuri Milner, SV Angel Offer EVERY New Y Combinator Startup $150k". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  15. ^ Rao, Leena Rao. "Y Combinator’s YC VC Will Replace The Start Fund; Includes Yuri Milner, Andreessen Horowitz But Offers Less Money". 
  16. ^ Ken Yeung (6 September 2013). "Y Combinator To Fund Non-Profit Startups With Charitable Donations". The Next Web. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sam Altman for President". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  18. ^ "The New Deal". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  19. ^ "Transcriptic for YC biotech startups". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  20. ^ "YC for Hardware". Y Combinator. Retrieved 2015-02-05. 
  21. ^ Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 (2010-09-01). "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian To Join Y Combinator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  22. ^ Graham, Paul (2010-11-12). "Y Combinator announces two new partners, Paul Buchheit and Harj Taggar". Y Combinator Posterous. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  23. ^ Former YC Partner Harj Taggar Is Building The New Technical Hiring Pipeline With TripleByte (May 7, 2015), Kim-Mai Cutler, TechCrunch
  24. ^ Melanson, Mike (2011-01-14). "Posterous Co-Founder Garry Tan Leaves for Y Combinator". Readwriteweb.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  25. ^ Tan, Garry. "Welcome Garry and Aaron". YCombinator Official Blog. 
  26. ^ "Sam Altman for President". YCombinator blog. February 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ Altman, Sam. "YC Updates and Additions". Y Combinator. Retrieved February 8, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Partners". Y Combinator. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Zidisha Is International Microlending, Immunity Project Is An HIV Vaccine; Two Nonprofits Currently Doing Y Combinator". January 24, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  30. ^ Altman, Sam. "YC Stats". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  31. ^ "Fellowship V2". Y Combinator Posthaven. Retrieved 2016-01-27. 
  32. ^ http://venturebeat.com/2015/10/07/sam-altman-commits-10m-to-start-y-combinator-research-lab/
  33. ^ http://blog.ycombinator.com/yc-research
  34. ^ http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/7/9473703/y-combinator-research
  35. ^ https://ycr.org

External links[edit]