How to get into Y Combinator with Ali Rowghani and Michael Seibel | Summary and Q&A

October 8, 2019
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How to get into Y Combinator with Ali Rowghani and Michael Seibel


Y Combinator, a startup accelerator, is celebrating its 14th year and has funded over 2,000 companies, with a focus on B2B SaaS companies. They aim to provide support, mentorship, and resources to help motivated founders succeed in the startup world.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ‘― Y Combinator's success can be attributed to the quality of the people in their program and the support they provide to founders.
  • 🧑 The startup accelerator has a strong focus on providing accessibility and opportunities to founders from different backgrounds, aiming to solve a wider range of problems.
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Y Combinator is increasingly funding international companies, with 40% of the latest batch being from outside the United States.
  • πŸ˜€ The accelerator's growth programs aim to address common challenges faced by later stage companies, such as hiring senior executives and managing company growth effectively.
  • πŸ₯‡ Y Combinator places great importance on execution and continuous learning, prioritizing progress over specific growth metrics.
  • β™Ώ The startup accelerator is focused on promoting diversity and providing equal access to startup resources and opportunities.


hi everyone thank you very much before we get started please remember you can send me questions through the TechCrunch conference app that you have downloaded already and I can get through them up here so with me today two of the senior people leading Y Combinator today the program is now in its second decade 14 years 14 years and it is the leading... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main advantage for B2B SaaS companies in the Y Combinator program?

Y Combinator can provide B2B SaaS companies with a strong network of potential customers through their extensive network of startups, which can greatly accelerate their growth.

Q: How does Y Combinator help later stage companies with company building?

Y Combinator's growth program focuses on company building challenges such as hiring, managing, and motivating people. They provide a platform for hiring engineers and offer programs focused on scaling effectively.

Q: How does Y Combinator promote diversity among founders?

Y Combinator is committed to promoting diversity and broadening access to economically disadvantaged communities. They provide open applications, offer programs like Startup School, and focus on providing information to those who may not have had exposure to the startup world.

Q: How does Y Combinator assess applications and what criteria do they look for?

Y Combinator looks for motivated founders, the ability to build the product, progress over time, and unique insights about the product, customer, or problem. The overall execution and pace of the startup are crucial aspects they consider.


In this video, two senior members of Y Combinator discuss the startup accelerator's growth over the past 14 years and the success of their portfolio companies. They talk about the focus on B2B SaaS companies and the advantages of being part of the YC network. They also discuss the YC growth program and the efforts to promote diversity and broaden access to economically disadvantaged communities.

Questions & Answers

Q: What were some interesting findings from Y Combinator's analysis of their own portfolio companies?

Y Combinator has funded over 2000 companies in its 14-year history, with over 100 companies worth over $150 million. They have over 20 companies worth a billion dollars, and they expect to celebrate an IPO every year going forward.

Q: How does YC decide which type of company to fund?

Y Combinator does not have a strong thesis about what type of company to fund. They will fund companies in any sector and any country around the world. However, there is a strong advantage for B2B SaaS companies within YC because they can sell to other YC companies, which provides a large customer base.

Q: What is the role of YC Growth in the organization?

YC Growth is a newer part of Y Combinator that focuses on supporting later-stage companies. Their goal is to help companies build and scale, particularly in terms of company building, hiring, and managing people. They provide founder-friendly and engaged later-stage capital for companies where it makes sense for YC to invest.

Q: How does the YC Growth team decide whether to invest in a later-stage company?

The YC Growth team considers themselves insiders in every YC company, regardless of whether they invest in the later stages or not. They view their role as aligning with what is best for the company, whether that means providing additional funding or not. They value the relationship and trust they have with the founders.

Q: What criteria does YC use to assess consumer companies?

YC looks for teams that can build the product, show progress over time, and have unique insights that the competition does not have. They do not have a specific growth rate in mind but are more focused on whether the company is executing at a fast pace.

Q: How important is the current monetization strategy in a YC application?

The importance of monetization strategy can vary depending on the type of business. Some businesses need to charge for their service in order to get valuable information and feedback from customers. In general, YC recommends defaulting to charging for services as it helps to determine customer interest and commitment.

Q: Are there any practical steps to stand out in a YC application?

YC looks for progress over time, so it is important to showcase the progress the company has made. The key is to demonstrate that the company is executing at a fast pace. While there is no specific formula or set metric that guarantees acceptance, providing clear and compelling evidence of growth and potential is important.

Q: What sets Y Combinator apart from other accelerators?

YC believes that the quality of the people who participate in their program sets them apart. The program focuses on creating an environment where founders can learn from and be inspired by each other. They deliberately choose founders who will inspire and support each other, creating a strong network and sense of community.

Q: How does YC promote diversity among founders?

YC recognizes that diversity is a huge problem in the startup community and is committed to addressing it. They focus on providing access to information and leveling the playing field to make the startup world more accessible to everyone. YC's products and programs, such as Startup School, aim to provide basic knowledge and support to founders from all backgrounds.

Q: What is YC's perspective on international companies and emerging markets?

YC is deeply committed to funding international companies and has funded many companies from Africa and other emerging markets. Around 40% of the most recent batch was international. YC plans to continue funding international companies and is even running interviews in Tel Aviv, Paris, and Bangalore for the next batch. They see the value in the diversity and unique perspectives that international founders bring.

Q: How does YC use insights gained from helping startups to accelerate future growth?

YC uses the experience and data they have gathered from helping startups to inform and improve the program. They share insights and learnings with startups to help them avoid common mistakes and make better decisions. The goal is to continuously refine and enhance the YC program based on the collective experiences of the founders.


Y Combinator is the leading startup accelerator in the world, with a focus on providing support, education, and funding to early-stage companies. YC has seen significant growth over the past 14 years, with numerous successful companies emerging from their program. They emphasize the importance of community and the power of the YC network in supporting and inspiring founders. YC is committed to promoting diversity and accessibility in the startup world, and they continue to innovate and improve their programs to better serve their founders.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Y Combinator has funded over 2,000 companies and over 5,000 founders, with more than a hundred companies currently worth over $150 million.

  • The accelerator program has a strong advantage for B2B SaaS companies, offering a network of potential customers and resources.

  • Y Combinator aims to provide support and resources for startup founders, including programs focused on growth, hiring, and raising series A funding.

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