We're happy to announce that we've appointed Alexis Ohanian as YC's Ambassador to the East. He's going to be based in New York, and he'll be talking to potential YC applicants and representing us at events all along the Atlantic Corridor.We've known Alexis since before Y Combinator even existed. In fact he was part of the reason we started it. He and Steve Huffman came up on the train from UVA to hear the talk at Harvard that led to Y Combinator. I had coffee with them afterward and found myself thinking "These guys could actually pull it off." Their startup, Reddit, was in the first YC batch in the summer of 2005, and was acquired by Conde Nast in 2007. It's still one of the best known of the companies we've funded. Since leaving Conde Nast in 2009, Alexis has focused on his social enterprise, Breadpig, which has generated over $150,000 for charities. We've always loved Alexis, and we're delighted to have him back. Anyone on the East Coast thinking of applying to YC should feel free to ask him any questions they have about YC or the application process (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Web start-ups are having a hard time hiring good programmers.When Michael Glukhovsky and Slava Akhmechet, the founders of RethinkDB, a database technology startup that changes how people store and access data, received $1.2 million in funding earlier this year, they began looking for their first employee. They turned to job boards. They recruited from their site. They tried to poach talent. They even wrote a blog post on their hiring woes and entered the how-to fray.
Their efforts didn't end there. They briefed a recruiter on their complex technology, but ultimately that was a waste of time—and dollars. And in four months, the hundreds of resumes, dozens of phone screens, and numerous four-hour meetings with viable candidates yielded no one who fit their criteria. So they started their company with students and post-grads eager to tackle a computer-science problem rather than become founding members at a startup.
Unemployment is chronic in much of the country, but in Silicon Valley, employees have their pick of jobs. In an economic climate that is the near converse of a recession, talent is scarce and star programmers have the upper hand. Pressured to solve the dull hiring puzzle, founders have started reconfiguring the way people get jobs. The result? Americans, more and more, will find work not via recruiters, job boards, and resumes, but by showcasing themselves online and undergoing less subjective automated assessments.
Startups that enter the Y Combinator program don’t generally do it for the money alone — most companies receive $20,000 or less in seed funding. Instead, they do it for the exposure, connections, mentors, and resources that the YC program affords. And they just got one more major perk: Facebook has announced that it will be working to help YC companies create “transformative social experiences”, and it’s going to give them preferential treatment and access to company resources. From the Facebook post:
We’ll provide product, technical and design resources to support new Y Combinator companies interested in working with us to build deeply social products, whether a website or an application on Facebook.com. These companies will have priority access to our technologies and programs such as Facebook Credits, Instant Personalization and upcoming beta features. Y Combinator will be publishing a “Request for Startup” focused on social startups and is now looking for interested entrepreneurs for their winter 2011 funding cycle.