Aaron Harris

Aaron is a Partner at YC. He was cofounder of Tutorspree, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2011. Before Tutorspree he worked at Bridgewater Associates, where he managed product and operations for an analytics group. He has an AB in History and Literature from Harvard.


YC Series A Program

In the last year, YC companies have raised over $550mm across 62 Series As. Near as we can tell, that’s the highest number in any portfolio anywhere in venture investing. We expect that number to go up each year as we fund more companies.

Mistakes in Time

I often think about things I want to learn and the reasons I cannot do so. I come up with plenty of excuses, from not having a practical need for learning that thing to not being smart enough to learn it. My biggest excuse, though, is that I simply don’t have the time.

The Customization Curve

A few months ago, I was talking to a startup about how individual customers wanted them to do different things. I think about this optimization as operating along three variables: cost of customization, happiness generated, and cost to support that customization. The goal is to find a level of customization that makes as many customers as possible happy while not incurring support costs – through personnel or burn – that would kill your company.

Thoughts on Insurance

Two years ago, I printed up Chubb’s 10k and started reading. As I read Chubb’s financials, industry reports, Warren Buffet’s letters, and various blogs I came to realize that the insurance industry was both far more complex and rife with opportunity than I’d assumed. While I’ve always been attracted to fractured and regulated markets, nothing quite mimics insurance in its scope, nuance, and size. I wasn’t the only person thinking about this, as the number of recent insurance tech companies indicates.

What Founder Friendly Actually Means

Lots of VCs talk about being founder friendly. I’ve noticed that founders often misunderstand how that actually works. What “founder friendly” does and doesn’t mean is important to understand.

Fooled by Experts

Experts are generally right until they’re wrong. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get fooled into thinking that experts are always right. This is especially true when it comes to trying new things in existing fields. We are biased into believing that knowing a lot about something confers an ability to predict the future.

Why VCs sometimes push companies to burn too fast

Despite praising frugality, VCs sometimes push companies to spend more money, faster. Sometimes this leads to faster growth. More often it leads to empty bank accounts.

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