The website Verge , via journalist Nilay Patel’s podcast Decoder , interviewed Michael Seibel , CEO of Y Combinator , one of the best known and most successful startup incubators in Silicon Valley.
Y Combinator has financed some of the most prominent companies in the technological field, Dropbox, Airbnb and Stripe among them. In addition, he is the co-founder of Justin.tv, which may be more familiar to you due to its current name, Twitch ; and is on the Reddit board of directors. In short, Michael Seibel knows the ecosystem of technology startups well and knows what he is talking about.
Precisely why Nilay Patel wanted to talk about recurring themes at Decoder : starting and growing tech businesses, giving new ideas a chance, the growing maker economy, and making sure the next generation of business leaders isn’t the same as the old.
From that interview, there are several aspects that have caught our attention, two of them especially.
The role of Y Combinator
The first is to know what the purpose of Y Combinator is , something that Michael Seibel explains clearly: “Y Combinator was created to solve five problems. The first is that they need a warm introduction, they need pre-existing relationships. The second is that they should know the best practices for creating a PowerPoint presentation. It is a small but very big problem.
The third problem is that they are trading against an investor. So the first relationship with the investor is a negotiation that is not entirely transparent. They don’t know if the previous company raised more money or got better or worse terms.
The fourth problem, for most of the time, is that the technical people were not financed. Only business people, with MBAs. And the fifth problem is that, after the financing, the relationship was only with the investor. The founder did not have a community of founders to learn from, to draw support from, to grow with.”
A remote future
The second issue that has caught our attention is your claim that the next generation of startups will be remote. He explains it this way: “In the remote program, half an hour of advice only takes half an hour, so YC partners spent 50% more office hours with companies. But it’s hard to create a personal relationship with someone through a screen. It is not impossible, but more difficult. So I think the future of YC is going to be one where we need to bring people together enough that they feel like they get that personal connection. But we really need to keep the time-saving component of remote, because if every office hour is done in person, we offer founders a worse product.”