Y Combinator (YC) is a business startup accelerator based in Mountain View, California. Originally founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2005, by 2021, YC listed 2,830 companies amongst its alumni. More than 80% of these companies were still active, had been acquired, or had gone public in June 2021 (see Exhibit 1).
By comparison, more than 80% of companies receiving traditional early-stage investment failed within 10 years. In 2021, YC's alumni included 125 companies valued at over $150 million and 25 worth over $1 billion. In total, YC's alumni had a combined valuation of over $300 billion.
Its success had attracted many imitators, but YC had continued to innovate its business model over the years and was still the leader in its field. The challenge for Geoff Ralston, President of YC since May 2019, was what to do next to maintain this position. Should YC retain its focus on early-stage funding? Or, should it broaden its product and geographic scope like many of its imitators?