Y Combinator is an accelerator program for startup founders with a community of over 7,000 alumni and over 15 years of trajectory.
Twice a year, the team at Y Combinator invests $500,000 in several startups. Those who want to get the funds have to apply first -only 1.5-2% of applicants get accepted. Y Combinator not only provides capital to founders, but also resources, expert advice, and a community of over 7,000 founders.
Those founders who enter YC's program for startups in seed-stage participate in group office hours once every two weeks. They can also access office hours with domain experts and YC partners every time they need to. Additionally, founders enjoy a weekly dinner with the rest of the program members. These dinners include talks with experts in some aspects of startups, such as founders, executives, or venture capitalists. There are other perks for alumni, such as exclusive discounts and workshops.
At the end of the program (which lasts for three months) founders participate in Demo Day. This is an exclusive, invite-only event where founders present their products and services to investors and the press. After the program ends, the startups that need further funds can often get it from contacts they make at Demo Day.
On the other hand, Y Combinator also has other programs. Continuity is for those founders who have found product-market fit and are looking for support while they scale their companies. The YC Growth Program, on the other hand, is for founders CEOs in rapidly-growing companies approaching 50 employees.
Y Combinator also has a free program, Startup School. This program not only gives you access to valuable content while you are getting started with a new business, but also a big community of other founders around the world. If you are not a founder yet, you can also take the Aspiring Founders course, which is also free. Lastly, Y Combinator offers a free library of curated resources for startup founders that are worth checking out.
Get access to a network of startup founders:
Y Combinator's alumni network is composed of over 7,000 startup founders. They interact not only in social events but also in an online forum and a Slack group. Meeting like-minded people is one of the biggest benefits of being accepted into YC's programs.
Obtain funding for your startup:
The community provides funding for the seed stage in their signature program. After the Demo Day at the end of the program, startups can raise additional funds with the connections provided by YC's network of investors.
Grow and scale:
Y Combinator program almost ensures founders' success. Since 2005, they provide startups with the guidance, resources, capital, and expert advice they need to exponentially grow and scale.
To get funded by Y Combinator, you need to apply for the next funding cycle (there are two per year). On the other hand, there are no requirements to join Startup School, which is free.
Twice a year, Y Combinator invests money in several startups, which enter a program for the next three months. Founders of the selected startups will participate in group office hours every two weeks. Additionally, they can meet with partners for office hours as many times as they need.
On the other hand, once a year all YC alumni (from all batches, including past ones) participate in Camp YC. This is a formal gathering that includes a weekend full of workshops and summer camp-style activities.
Founders of the startups selected at each batch of Y Combinator's program will participate in weekly talks. These talks feature experts in some aspects of startups (founders, venture capitalists, executives from leading tech companies, etc). Besides the weekly talks, YC alumni also enjoy workshops and office hours with YC partners, part-time partners, and domain experts.
You can also participate in other programs, depending on your startup's growth stage. For example, YC's Continuity Fund is dedicated to supporting founders while they scale their companies. The Growth Program, on the other hand, is designed for founders CEOs in rapidly-growing companies approaching 50 employees.
The Demo Day is a big benefit of being selected to participate in Y Combinator's program. About ten weeks after the program starts, the selected startups will participate in Demo Day. In this event, founders can present their products and services to a large, exclusive audience of investors and the press.
On the other hand, you will interact with 7,000+ founders who are part of the Y Combinator alumni network. They can answer your questions, provide you with helpful advice, and introduce you to some of their peers. Specifically, most connections happen through Bookface. This is a platform that connects all YC alumni and includes an online forum to post to. Additionally, all members have their own profiles and can tag themselves as experts in different fields. Y Combinator has also a Slack group where you will be able to chat with other founders in real-time.
Moreover, members of Y Combinator most often get their first paying customers right from the community network. Founders can also access email lists that reach specific communities. Lastly, you can participate in fun happy hours with other members to bounce off ideas together.
Keep in mind that you can also browse open positions at YC's job board. This job board includes only open job listings from YC companies.
Hacker News is a great resource from Y Combinator. It releases news from the startup world several times per day. Users can also respond to each post and discuss it in the comments. On the other hand, you can check out YC Startup Library. This is a very comprehensive library crafted in the last 15 years of Y Combinator's existence. The library includes not only videos but also podcasts and other resources specifically curated for startup founders.
Startup School it's a free program designed by Y Combinator that teaches you how to start a company. This not only allows you to get relevant content but also to access a relevant community of founders. If you are not a founder of an active company yet, you can participate in the Aspiring Founders course, which is also free and it lasts 6 weeks.
Being part of Y Combinator provides startups with discounts, exclusive offers, and free accounts in over 100 companies. Some of the deals are quite significant, such as hundreds of thousands of dollars of free hosting.
"Y Combinator was a gamechanger for us. We entered the program with an idea and, 3 months later, left as a launched company with seed funding from the best investors in Silicon Valley. The network of friends, mentors, advisors, and investors that we have gained through our association with Y Combinator have provided us with incredible advice, support, and introductions over the last 3 years and have been instrumental in the success Science Exchange has had." -Elizabeth Iorns