Y Combinator President Sam Altman Transitions To Chairman

By Amit Chowdhry ● March 9, 2019

Y Combinator has announced that president Sam Altman is transitioning to Chairman. Altman’s operational responsibilities are shifting to other partners while he plans to spend more time focusing on OpenAI.

Altman will still focus on the long-term and economic success of Y Combinator. Since Y Combinator is run as a partnership, there will not be any significant operational changes.

Altman founded the non-profit OpenAI research initiative with Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Last month, Musk stepped down from the OpenAI board due to avoid conflicts of interest since Tesla Motors is more focused on AI. However, Musk said he is going to continue donating and advising OpenAI.

Michael Seibel will continue to head up Y Combinator as CEO. Michael Seibel — who was previously the CEO of Socialcam and Justin.tv — joined Y Combinator in 2013 as a part-time partner and was named CEO in 2016.

“Things are going well — in the past two years, we launched Startup School, the Series A program, the YC Growth program, Work at a Startup, and YC China. The current total market capitalization of YC companies is around $150 billion. The YC network now has over 4,000 alumni and 1,900 companies, and it has become a reliable source of advice, customers, friendship, and support for YC founders,” said Y Combinator in the announcement. “We had over 12,000 applicants for the Winter 2019 batch. This was a 30% increase compared to the Summer 2018 batch. We had two choices—either we reject a lot of great founders, or we figure out how to grow the batch. We decided to grow. We funded over 200 companies this batch, an increase of 25% compared to S18.”

Due to this significant growth, Y Combinator had to make some changes to Demo Day. Demo Day will now have two stages running in parallel over two days, which allows more time for investors to interact with founders off-stage. And with a larger space, Y Combinator has been able to invite many more investors so that venture capital firms can send more representatives.

Demo Day is being moved to a new venue in San Francisco. And Y Combinator is planning on moving the startup accelerator to the city and is looking for space there. Currently, Y Combinator is based out of Mountain View and they want to be closer to its Bay Area alumni who disproportionately live and work in San Francisco. Companies like Dropbox, Twitch, Stripe, Airbnb, and dozens of other successful companies have graduated from Y Combinator.

Since 2005, more than 2,000 startups participated in Y Combinator. And now Y Combinator is now recruiting for its 120th class of startups. Several months ago, Y Combinator said it would increase the size of its investments to $150,000 for 7% equity starting with the Winter 2019 batch. This is up from $120,000 since 2014 and $20,000 in 2007. Y Combinator started setting up a YC Research facility in Seattle last year and the company also expanded to China — which is being led by former Baidu COO Qi. L.

And last year, Y Combinator saw 10,500 companies participate in its Startup School. Startup School is a free online program that teaches people how to start a startup. And 30% of the companies in the current batch came from Startup School.

Plus Y Combinator is ramping up its Series A program. In the past year, there were 96 Series A rounds across the Y Combinator portfolio. And the Series A program helped 67 companies raise their rounds. To help investors gain access to Y Combinator Series As, an investor portal was created.

Here is a video of Altman discussing how to build the future: