We have a few updates about YC to share.
Sam is transitioning to Chairman of YC and has shifted his operational responsibilities at YC to other partners. This change will allow Sam to spend more time focusing on OpenAI while still being responsible, along with the rest of the partnership, for the long-term social and economic success of YC. Because YC is run as a partnership, there will be no significant operational change.
Things are going well — in the past two years, we launched Startup School, the Series A program, the YC Growth program, Work at a Startup, and YC China. The current total market capitalization of YC companies is around $150 billion. The YC network now has over 4,000 alumni and 1,900 companies, and it has become a reliable source of advice, customers, friendship, and support for YC founders.
We had over 12,000 applicants for the Winter 2019 batch. This was a 30% increase compared to the Summer 2018 batch. We had two choices—either we reject a lot of great founders, or we figure out how to grow the batch. We decided to grow. We funded over 200 companies this batch, an increase of 25% compared to S18.
That necessitated some changes to Demo Day. We will now have two stages running in parallel over two days, allowing more time for investors to interact with founders off-stage. With a larger space, we’ve been able to invite many more investors so that investment firms can send more people. (For those investors who want to watch every pitch, we record the presentations and make them available to watch on our Demo Day website.) Because of these changes, we had to move to a new venue. We had been talking for some time about moving to San Francisco, and this seemed like the natural time to do it.
Speaking of San Francisco, we are considering moving YC to the city and are currently looking for space. The center of gravity for new startups has clearly shifted over the past five years, and although we love our space in Mountain View, we are rethinking whether the logistical tradeoff is worth it, especially given how difficult the commute has become. We also want to be closer to our Bay Area alumni, who disproportionately live and work in San Francisco.
At the same time, we’ve gotten better at serving and being more accessible to founders who live around the world. Startup School is our free online program to teach people how to start a startup and to provide advice and community. Last year we had 10,500 companies participate. We’re particularly proud that 30% of the companies in this current batch came from Startup School! Our mission with this program is to bring the cost of knowledge, community, and tools to start a startup way down. Going forward, everyone who wants to do Startup School will be accepted.
Finally, we continue to scale up our Series A program, which helps our companies raise an A round when they’re ready. In the last twelve months, there were 96 Series As across the YC portfolio, and the Series A program helped 67 of those companies raise their rounds. We also started running Series A batches, modeled after the classic YC batches, and have created an investor portal to help more investors to get access to YC Series As.