The evolution of Y Combinator, and counter-intuitive advice for founders | Industry

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In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I’m visiting Y ’s San Francisco headquarters to talk to two of the people who are integral to Y — Kat Manalac and Michael Seibel.

Michael is CEO of Y Combinator’s accelerator program. He has been through YC himself a couple of times — first in 2007, as co-founder and CEO of Justin.tv — and again in 2012 as co-founder and CEO of Socialcam. Justin.tv later became Twitch and sold to Amazon, and Socialcam was sold to Autodesk.

Kat is a partner at Y Combinator and one of the people who convinced us to apply to join the program back in 2014. She has been at YC for five years, where she focuses on founder outreach, helping companies perfect their pitches, and much more. Prior to joining YC, she was chief of staff to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and also worked on brand and strategy at WIRED.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The of Y Combinator — it’s changed a ton since Product Hunt went through the program four years ago. They’ve been working on several programs for — things that Michael wishes existed when he went through the program.
  • Michael and Kat’s for founders, including counter-intuitive tips they’ve learned after working with literally thousands of startups.
  • A key mistake that trips up new founders when pitching their company, as well as advice for founders seeking a technical co-founder.
  • How YC has scaled the organization as a 50-person company with its 4,000 (and growing) alumni.

Of course, we also chat about some of their favorite products, including a virtual assistant that will do anything, a $1,500 smart mirror that will get you fit, and a beverage that will get you high.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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