by Sam Altman10/15/2015
YC will fund its 1,000th company this year, and many of these companies are now scaling their organizations, revenue, and operations. Though years removed from our program, these founders continue to come to YC for advice and support, and we would like to do more to help them.
To that end, I’m delighted to share that Ali Rowghani has joined YC as a full-time partner. Ali has quickly become a trusted advisor to many of our growth-stage companies, and is helping a great deal with our vision of continued support for our alumni companies after they finish our program.
Also, in response to requests from a number of YC founders, we’ve raised a new fund called the YC Continuity Fund, which Ali will be running. This fund will allow us to support YC companies well after Demo Day in two primary ways.
First, we’re going to do our pro rata investment for every YC company in every round with a valuation below $300 million. We believe we generally pick good companies for YC, and we want to be able to continue to support them in future financings.
Second, we will consider leading or participating in later stage growth financing rounds of YC companies. We are open to taking Board seats where it makes sense for founders, but do not expect to do so in every investment. We hope to be a founder-friendly partner for maturing companies in the same way we have been a founder-friendly early-stage investor. Also, there are some companies we think are very good and important to support with growth-stage capital that traditional investors are less excited about, and we’re looking forward to being able to do that. Finally, we look forward to being a very long-term focused investor in a sector where most players are not.
We also want to be very clear on what we’re not doing. We are not pursuing investments outside of the YC portfolio. We are also not leading seed or traditional Series A rounds or trying to otherwise disrupt early-stage VCs, whose participation in the ecosystem is very valuable. It’d be the wrong thing for our companies, as it would both create massive signaling issues for companies we didn’t fund and deprive companies of valuable additional advisors. By doing pro rata in every company, we should avoid any signaling issues.
Our mission at YC is to be the organization that enables the most innovation in the world. Capital — especially long-term capital willing to invest outside of the current trends — is an important ingredient in that mission, and I’m excited we are now able to better support some of our companies. In doing so, I hope that joining YC is an even better deal for companies just starting out.
Sam Altman is the CEO of OpenAI. He was the president of YC from 2014-2019. He studied computer science at Stanford, and while there, worked in the AI lab.