Jessica Livingston on HTBTF

Our second guest on How To Build The Future is Jessica Livingston, Co-Founder of Y Combinator!

You can watch it here:

Jessica has been instrumental in the creation and continued success of YC.  She talks here about what founders of very successful companies do in their early days, and also what she did in the early days to make YC into what it's become.

Also, we've moved the site for these interviews to

Welcome Sharon!

Sharon Pope will be joining YC to run programs and marketing for the YC Continuity Fund.

Sharon was most recently the Chief Marketing Officer for Green Dot Corporation (inventor of the prepaid debit card; creator of the first fully mobile bank account, GoBank). Prior to that, she ran marketing & PR at Loopt (acquired by Green Dot) and managed PR and content for a range of tech companies while at San Francisco PR agencies.

We’re excited for Sharon to help engage growth stage founders and YC alumni.

Last Day to Apply for Startup School 2016!

It's the last day to apply for Startup School 2016. Apply here

Startup School will be hosted at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA on September 17. 

Speakers include:
Marc Andreessen · Founder, a16z 
Kalam Dennis and Reham Fagiri · Founders, AptDeco 
Ooshma Garg · Founder, Gobble 
Reid Hoffman · Founder, Linkedin and Partner, Greylock
Gabe Leydon · Founder, Machine Zone 
Ben Silbermann · Founder, Pinterest  

You’ll also get a peek at some of what we do at YC. Kevin Hale and Qasar Younis will host on-stage office hours with three companies from the audience, and Sam Altman and Paul Buchheit will hear startup pitches and workshop them on-stage.

We hope to see you there! 

YC Office Hours in 11 Countries This Fall

YC partners will be visiting 11 countries this fall to meet with founders and learn more about how we can be helpful to international startup communities.

In our Summer 2016 batch, about 30% of the startups we funded were based outside the US before YC. And in the past year, some of the fastest growing companies we’ve worked with were started outside the US.

We want to meet and fund the best founders, no matter where in the world they’re from. We hope to see you while we're on the road.

AFRICA: Nigeria

September 23-26: Lagos, Nigeria
> Join us for a talk at OIIE’s StartUP Friday (Sept 23)
> Join us for a fireside chat with TechCircle (Sept 24)
> Sign up for office hours at Andela (Sept 26)
*Plus other events organized by Ingressive

September 27: Abuja, Nigeria
> Sign up for office hours at Ventures Platform - Abuja (Sept 27)

EUROPE: Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, and Russia

September 20-21: Copenhagen, Denmark
> Join us for talks at TechBBQ 2016 in Copenhagen (Sept 20)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 20-21)

September 21: Lisbon, Portugal
> Join us for a talk at Road2WebSumimit 

September 23: Stockholm, Sweden
> Join us for a fireside chat at the office of Wheelys Cafe
> Sign up for office hours

September 26: Berlin, Germany
> Join us for a fireside chat at Factory Berlin
> Sign up for office hours

September 28-September 30: Moscow, Russia
> Join us for a fireside chat with Innov8 Global Labs at The Yellow Door (Sept 28)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 29)

INDIA: Delhi and Bangalore

September 22: Delhi, India
> Join us for a talk at Innov8.Work
> Sign up for office hours

September 25: Bangalore, India
> Join us for a talk hosted by Innov8.Work
> Sign up for office hours

LATIN AMERICA: Argentina, Chile, and Mexico

September 22: Buenos Aires, Argentina
> Join us for a talk at the Bluesmart office
> Sign up for office hours

September 26-27: Santiago, Chile
> Join us for a talk at iF Chile (Sept 26) 
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 26)
> Join us for a meetup at Start-Up Chile (Sept 27)

September 29-October 1: Mexico City
> Join us for talks at PlatziConf (Oct 1)
> Sign up for office hours (Sept 29-30)

MENA: Israel

September 5-September 7: Tel Aviv, Israel
> Join YC partner Aaron Harris for a fireside chat with Eden Shochat (Aleph) on AI and Fintech (Sept 5, 7pm at Rise Tel Aviv, Ahad Ha'am 54)
> Join us for a talk at Google for Entrepreneurs (Sept 6 - more details to come)
> Sign up for office hours on September 6
> Sign up for office hours on September 7

A big thank-you to the YC alumni and startup communities around the world for hosting us.

Questions? Email And shoot us a note if you'd like to help spread the word.

Welcome Anu!

We are excited to announce that Anu Hariharan will be joining YC as a partner with the YC Continuity Fund.

Anu has been an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz since 2014 where she focused primarily on growth stage investments in the consumer sector. Beyond her involvement in sourcing, analyzing businesses and investment diligence at a16z, she has also worked actively with the management teams at a number of portfolio companies including Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp and Udacity.

Anu began her career as a senior engineer at Qualcomm developing their mobile video streaming solution and then spent four years at The Boston Consulting Group, as a Principal in the firm’s Private Equity Practice.  In this role, Anu led investment due diligence for clients in dozens of deals for both consumer and B2B and across a number of sectors ranging from retail and online marketplaces to fintech, data companies and many more.

Anu combines a rigor and enthusiasm for investing with an ability to relate to and really dig in and help entrepreneurs solve challenging strategic issues. We are excited to welcome her to YC where she will help grow and shape the Continuity program!

Welcome Dominika, John, Domonique, Ben and Harj!

We're excited to welcome a few new people to YC: 

Dominika Blackappl is joining YC as a part-time partner. She is an industrial and user experience designer who cofounded and led 5 startups, two of which had successful exits. Prior to that, Dominika ran her own design firm and spent time at IDEO.

John Collison is joining YC as a part-time partner. John is the cofounder of Stripe (YC S10), which he started while he was studying physics at Harvard. 

Domonique Fines is joining YC as Head of Events. Domonique comes to us from frog Design where she did office management and events. Domonique is a native of Oakland, CA and got her bachelor's from Clark Atlanta University.   

Ben Holzman is joining the YC Continuity team as a part-time partner. Ben has expertise in enterprise and infrastructure software companies. Most recently, Ben was a Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures, where he spent over 8 years investing in and building software companies. 

And finally, we're happy to welcome Harjeet Taggar to YC's Board of Overseers. He'll be taking over Adora's spot, since she joined us as a full-time partner. Harj was a partner at YC until he left to start Triplebyte (YC S15). And before that he founded Auctomatic (YC W7). 

Welcome to YC!

Startup School 2016 applications are open

Applications for Startup School 2016 are open now, and we're excited to see you there:

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Flint Center, Cupertino, CA

Startup School is a free to attend, one-day conference where you'll hear stories and practical advice from founders and investors.

This year, we're joined by:
Marc Andreessen, a16z
Kalam Dennis and Reham Fagiri, AptDeco
Ooshma Garg, Gobble
Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn and Greylock Partners
Gabe Leydon, Machine Zone
Ben Silbermann, Pinterest

Learn how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew.

You'll also get a peek at some of what we do at YC. Kevin Hale and Qasar Younis will host on-stage office hours with three companies from the audience, and Sam Altman and Paul Buchheit will hear pitches and workshop them on-stage.

APPLY HERE by August 15

Investor Day

Below is a copy of an email I sent to investors who attend YC's Demo Day. It discusses some of the changes we’re making and how they will impact Demo Day.

YC Demo Day Investors,

We’re making some changes to Y Combinator’s Demo Days - please take a minute to read below because they are material.

As with previous batches, Demo Days for the Summer 2016 batch will be split over two days on August 22 and August 23. A RSVP email will be coming to you in the following weeks.  Additionally please keep August 24th available as we’re trying something new this batch called “Investor Day”.

First, when investors watch Demo Day presentations, we’ll have a “request to meet” button next to each startup in the YC Demo Day app. If you watch a presentation and you’d like to request a meeting with the founders to learn more, you’ll click that button. We’ll then ask you to rank the startups you clicked to meet by 8pm on Tuesday 8/23. Second, founders will receive a list of investors who have requested to meet with them, and they will also rank who they want to talk to. Using both these ranked inputs, our software will create “Investor Day” schedules for each investor and each startup, which will take place at the Computer History Museum on Wednesday 8/24. Therefore please also keep 8/24 available on your schedules.

On Wednesday 8/24, all the companies will be set up at tables to meet with you face to face. Each startup will have 10-15 slots available and each meeting will last 20 minutes.

There are a couple of additional points to note. The “request to meet” button will only be available to investors who are physically attending Demo Days (not to remote viewers of our live stream), and all meetings on Investor Day must take place in-person. Investing/General Partners can bring junior investing members to Investor Day, however if the Investing/General Partner is not present, the slot will be cancelled. More details will be provided in a few weeks along with the Demo Day RSVP.

There are several reasons we’re adding Investor Day after Demo Day. This new format streamlines what is already happening in a less efficient way for weeks after every Demo Day with investors and founders driving up and down the valley to meet in office parks and coffee shops. We don’t expect this will completely replace those meetings but rather get them going more smoothly. Investor Day also replaces our old “investor office hours” which happened a few days before Demo Day with a smaller group of investors.

Like many things at YC, Investor Day is an experiment and we’re going to see what works and what doesn’t so bear with us if you run into any bugs. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll be happy to clarify.

Feel free to share this with people on your teams.

New Cities

We want to study building new, better cities.

The world is full of people who aren’t realizing their potential in large part because their cities don't provide the opportunities and living conditions necessary for success. A high leverage way to improve our world is to unleash this massive potential by making better cities.

It’s more important than ever to think about how to do this. The need for new supply continues to increase significantly [1]. Many constraints related to where cities should be located (e.g. near rivers for trade) have changed. We now have major technologies such as smart grids, autonomous vehicles, etc. The internet itself allows for participation never before possible. Also, housing prices in many cities have become untenable and we need more housing in places people want to live.

Some existing cities will get bigger and there's important work being done by smart people to improve them. We also think it’s possible to do amazing things given a blank slate. Our goal is to design the best possible city given the constraints of existing laws.

There are many high-level questions we want to think through, for example:

  • What should a city optimize for?
  • How should we measure the effectiveness of a city (what are its KPIs)?
  • What values should (or should not) be embedded in a city's culture?
  • How can cities help more of their residents be happy and reach their potential?
  • How can we encourage a diverse range of people to live and work in the city?
  • How should citizens guide and participate in government?
  • How can we make sure a city is constantly evolving and always open to change?

And there are tactical questions we want to dig into, for example:

  • How can we make and keep housing affordable? This is critical to us; the cost of housing affects everything else in a city.
  • How can we lay out the public and private spaces (and roads) to make a great place to live? Can we figure out better zoning laws?
  • What is the right role for vehicles in a city?  Should we have human-driven cars at all?
  • How can we have affordable high-speed transit to and from other cities?
  • How can we make rules and regulations that are comprehensive while also being easily understandable? Can we fit all rules for the city in 100 pages of text?
  • What effects will the new city have on the surrounding community?

The first phase of this will be a YC Research project. We’ll publicly share our results, and at the end of the process, we’ll decide if it’s something we should pursue and at what exact locations. We’re seriously interested in building new cities and we think we know how to finance it if everything else makes sense [2].

At minimum, we hope this research helps others make existing cities better.

This is not a small undertaking. We’ve begun research and are now forming a team to work on it full-time. We need people with strong interests and bold ideas in architecture, ecology, economics, politics, technology, urban planning, and much more.

If you’re interested, please apply here by July 30, 2016.

If you have ideas to share, but don't want to work on this full-time, email us your thoughts:

- Adora Cheung, Sam Altman

[1] Two out of three people will live in cities by 2050 - an influx of 2.5 billion new urbanites.

[2] Just to get ahead of the inevitable associations: We want to build cities for all humans - for tech and non-tech people. We’re not interested in building “crazy libertarian utopias for techies.”

Welcome Adora, Nicole, Elizabeth, Case and Robby!

We're excited to announce a few new additions to the YC team. 

Adora Cheung is joining YC as a Partner. Previously, she was co-founder and CEO at Homejoy and a product manager at Slide. Adora has a masters in economics from University of Rochester and a bachelors in computer science from Clemson. 

Nicole Imhof is joining YC as my Executive Assistant. Prior to YC, Nicole was an Operations Associate at the Berkeley Endowment Management Company and previously, she was at ICONIQ Capital. Imhof earned her B.A. in Politics from the University of San Francisco.

Elizabeth Proehl is joining YC Research to manage the office and general operations. Most recently, Elizabeth worked as a public radio producer and reporter at KPFA in Berkeley, California. She has a BA in Near Eastern Studies and Psychology from Cornell.

Case Sandberg is joining YC's software team. Previously, he was an early employee at both Respondly and Borrowlenses (with exits at Buffer and Shutterfly, respectively). Case is a high-school dropout.

Robby Walker is joining YC as a part-time partner and will lead YC's non-profit program. Robby previously founded two companies funded by Y Combinator: Zenter (W2007) and Cue (W2010). He now works on Siri at Apple.

Welcome to YC!