The First Six Months
Six months ago, Paul Graham and YCombinator announced that Sam Altman would be taking over as President of YC.
So, how has he done so far?
- YC has become (seemingly) more open - sharing data from their efforts more broadly
- YC has become a public ally of those seeking increased gender and racial diversity in tech — lending their support to an important cause
- YC has accelerated it’s advance into supporting companies attacking new industries, taking bets on more technically challenging companies
- Altman has continued the trend of putting a voice to important ecosystem questions (like diversity, employee equity, etc.)
- Altman has publicly embraced a mission “for YC to fund all of the great startups in the world” — there’s clearly no shortage of ambition
Altman has been impressive to watch. YC feels more nimble, active, and impressive then I’ve ever seen it. It’s advocating for improving our industry, and is clearly still a dominant and desirable technology investor and accelerator.
They are also pushing into new areas (especially energy and biology) that are likely to change the world for the better. YC is starting to feel not just like a powerful SV institution, but also one that’s one the right side of history, and one that could play a very important supporting role in human development over the next several decades.
Based on his first 6 months, I think Altman was an inspired pick for leading YC, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
YC, of course, has continued to succeed financially, which is very impressive, but can’t be attributed to Altman (most of these wins take years to materialize):
- More than 6 classes now have >$1b valuationIf you assume that the largest class to date is about 90 companies, the average investment is no more than 30k, and the average dilution is 50% — that would get you a maximum of $2.7M invested for a minimum of a $35M (probably unrealized) return.
- That’s a 13x return even with very conservative assumptions and ignoring the fact that most of the big winners are still growing dramatically.
- More info: http://blog.ycombinator.com/yc-portfolio-stats