YC stats

We get asked (a lot) for statistics on the YC portfolio about valuation and fundraising.  Although these are very imperfect indicators of success, here they are.

All of these companies actually went through a YC batch and got their start with us (e.g. we do not include Quora).

Also, the YC application for the next batch opens tomorrow! :)


Total "valuation" of all YC companies: >$65 billion

Total money raised by all YC companies: >$7 billion

Number of YC companies worth more than $1 billion: 8 [1]

Number of YC companies worth more than $100 million: >40

Number of companies funded by YC so far: ~940

Number of companies funded by YC that have dissolved: 177

Number of companies in the last batch: 107

Number of hardware + biotech + healthcare companies in the last batch: 32

Number of companies we offered to fund yesterday for the first YC Fellowship: 33


[1] This includes Twitch, which Amazon bought for ~970MM plus an earn-out.

A new role for Qasar

I'm delighted to announce that Qasar Younis will be YC's first COO. Qasar will help scale our organization and operations as we tackle bigger and more ambitious projects--we've grown quite a bit in the past few years and now have a lot to do on the operations side. Along with his new responsibilities as COO, Qasar will primarily continue to invest in and advise companies.

Qasar first joined YC as a founder and CEO of TalkBin, which was part of the Winter 2011 class. TalkBin was acquired by Google where he went on to lead business-facing products inside of Google Maps including google.com/business. He joined YC as a part-time partner in 2013 and full time in the 2014. Qasar has been in operational roles most of his career and we are all excited to see what he can do at YC.

Fortune wrote about this here.

Welcome Simon

I'm delighted to announce that Simon Lu is joining YC. He will focus on our investment activities and advise YC alumni companies.

Simon joins with both operational and investment experience. He joined Twitter in 2010 and held various roles during his five years with the company in business development, corporate strategy, platform operations, and corporate development. Prior to Twitter, he was at The Carlyle Group, where he focused on technology and education investments.

I mentioned to a few people today that Simon was joining us; the response in all cases was "Wow, he's one of the best people I've ever worked with."

Welcome, Simon!

Pro Rata

For a long time, YC founders (and other investors) have asked us why we don't continue to financially support our companies after our initial investment by doing our pro rata in future rounds.  Many new investors really like to see the support of existing investors.

There were a lot of reasons why we couldn’t do this in the past. But starting in the Summer of 2014, we added a pro rata provision to our standard investment documents, and starting now, we're going to aim to support all these companies in future financing rounds by doing our pro rata. We will try to do this for every company in every round with a post-money valuation of $250 million or less.

To make it extra-clear, we're not going to lead any of these rounds or set the terms, just follow other investors.  And by doing this in every YC company, there will be no signaling issue of us supporting some companies and not others.

YC Fellowship

Ten years ago, Paul Graham said there could be ten times as many startups if more people realized they could try. Thanks to the work he, Jessica, Trevor and Robert helped do, that’s become true.

We think there is still room for another ten-fold increase in the number of (good) startups. But even now, a lot of good founders never get started because they can’t scrape together a relatively small sum of money at the idea stage.

So we’re going to try a new experiment, which we’re calling the YC Fellowship. This is targeted at teams that are very, very early.

Like YC, we will accept applications and evaluate both the team and the idea. We expect these startups to be early–a prototype is more than enough (though we expect you to have an idea). In order to have the most impact, we’re only considering companies that haven’t yet raised money from investors. Unlike companies that YC funds, YC Fellows won’t have to move to the Bay Area (though we strongly encourage they do). For this experiment, we’re willing to try office hours over video chat.

YC Fellows will receive $12,000 per team as a grant (though if this continues past this test run, we will probably do a more traditional investment with equity for future Fellows) and access to advice from the YC community.

The program will be much lighter weight than YC, but we’ll still try to help you a lot. A dedicated partner will advise YC Fellows and be available for office hours. Fellowship recipients will have a kickoff day and an end event in Mountain View, and we’ll pay for remote teams to fly out for these. We’ll also make some things from YC available to YC Fellows, like AWS and Microsoft hosting credits. We’ll encourage but not require that Fellows later apply to Y Combinator.

The program runs for 8 weeks, from mid-September to mid-November. You should expect to work full-time on your project for those 8 weeks.

Also, this doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. If you fail but seem good, we’ll happily consider you again with a new idea.

We understand that $12,000 is not a lot of money, and this won’t make sense for everyone. But for some people, it may be the difference between going to work at a big company and starting the next Airbnb. Those are the people we hope to help here.

Applications are open now and are due July 27th at 8pm PT. That’s not a lot of time, but it should be enough – the right teams are likely already tinkering with ideas.

Although this is an experiment, if it seems promising we’ll iterate quickly just like any good startup. Our goal at YC is to enable as much innovation as we can. Someday if it works, we’d love to fund 1,000 companies per year like this.

Apply to the YC Fellowship here


Welcome Amy, Susan, Colleen, and Steven

I’m delighted to announce four new additions to the YC team.

Amy Buechler is joining us as an associate, working closely with founders in the current investment cycle.  Previously, she got an M.A. in Counseling Psychology at the Wright Institute, led study abroad programs through the Bali Institute, and managed commercial real estate. 

Susan Hobbs is joining us as Director of Events.  Previously, she was at TechCrunch for four years where she focused on programming for the TechCrunch events, including Disrupt.  Before that, Susan was the first non-engineering hire at both Codian and at CoTweet.

Colleen Taylor is joining us as Editorial Director.  Colleen was most recently at TechCrunch, where she served as the editorial director for TechCrunch TV.  Previously, she worked as a reporter at GigaOM, the Financial Times' Mergermarket newswire, and the semiconductor industry newsletter Electronic News. 

Steven Pham is joining us as our office manager.   Steven was formerly Garry Tan’s Chief of Staff and has a BS in Biomedical Engineering.

Welcome to YC!

One surprising hack to get into YC!

People often ask us what they can do to improve their chances of getting into YC.  The truth is there isn’t much other than “have a good idea, a market that may become huge, and a great team”.

However, there is one thing that helps, and so we’re making it official.

If you’ve worked at a YC company, and get a good recommendation from the founder of that company, we’ll give your YC application extra consideration.  References are very helpful in any decision about who to work with—there’s so much value in understanding how someone performs and improves over years on a job. 

You certainly don’t need to do this, of course.  Most of the founders we fund are totally unknown to any YC partner and have never worked at a YC company.  The fact that we are willing to look at people totally unknown to us is key to why we do well, and not something we’ll ever stop doing.

(If you’re an engineer interested in working at a YC startup, go here: https://triplebyte.com)

Welcome Luke and Rick

We are happy to announce two new additions to the YC team.

Rick Morrison is joining us as a part-time partner.  Rick is the founder and CEO of Comprehend Systems.  Comprehend makes multi-datasource analytics and collaboration tools for the life sciences industry.  Rick will focus on advising our enterprise companies.

Luke Iseman is joining us to help our hardware companies.  He was the cofounder of Edyn from W2014, and he cofounded the boxhouse open-source shipping container home project.  Luke will be responsible for all of our hardware partnerships as well as advising hardware companies on how to get their prototypes and products built.

Welcome, Luke and Rick!

New Hacker News Guideline

The HN team members are some of the most thoughtful people about online communities I’ve ever met. So I’m always excited when they have a new idea to try.

This idea is simple. We’re updating the guidelines to add: "Avoid gratuitous negativity."

Critical thinking is good; shallow cynicism, on the other hand, adds nothing of value to the community. It is unpleasant to read and detracts from actual work. If you have something important but negative to say, that's fine, but say it in a respectful way. 

Negativity isn't the problem--gratuitous negativity is. By that we mean negativity that adds nothing of substance to a comment. This includes all forms of meanness.

Sharp readers may point out that the HN guidelines have always excluded those things. That's true. But it's still enough of a problem in HN threads that this is a clarification worth making. We tried it out last year when we released special guidelines for Show HNs. It worked well there, so we're extending it to the whole site.

New work and new ideas are fragile. Too much gratuitous negativity might be the difference between someone giving up on a crazy idea and building the next Airbnb. Obviously, we want Hacker News to help startups and people doing new work, not hurt them. Building stuff is hard, and you'll always need a thick skin. But we see no need for Hacker News to make the problem worse.
 
The human trait of being unhappy with other people's success is something we’ve all felt and should all try to avoid. Similarly for piling on to others' mistakes. These things feel good in the moment, but they're harmful and lazy. HN is a community of smart people. Let's all apply our smartness to *not* being like that, and see what new and interesting things emerge.
 
How are we going to enforce this? By asking the community to do so. Gentle reminders by peers are the best way we know to make the culture better.
 
HN can never be all things to all people. If you want to be relentlessly negative on the internet, there are other places you can go to do that.
 
I’m excited about this change; the increase in gratuitous negativity as Hacker News has gotten bigger is the thing I’ve liked the least.
 
To support this, Daniel and the HN team are working on another new idea I'm very excited about--code-named "Modnesty"--to turn more moderation power over to the community. We'll be sharing more on that in the coming months.

Welcome Peter

I’m delighted to announce Peter Thiel is joining YC as one of the (now 10!) part-time partners. 

In addition to founding PayPal and Palantir and being the first investor in Facebook, Peter has been involved with many of the most important technology companies of the last 15 years, both personally and through Founders Fund, and the founders of those companies will generally tell you he has been their best source of strategic advice.  He already works with a number of YC companies, and we’re very happy he’ll be working with more.

We generally won’t bring on people that are involved with other investing firms given the obvious conflict, but Peter is so good we felt like we had to make an exception.  Peter won’t invest in any companies while they’re in YC or for 3 months after they present at Demo Day (this will apply to Peter’s investment entities as well), which should eliminate any unfair advantage.  We’re pretty paranoid about potential conflicts, and we’ll continually evaluate this and change it if it’s not working.

On a personal note, Peter is one of the two people (along with PG) who has taught me the most about how to invest in startups.  I am confident that Peter joining will be great for YC.