And, if youre optimizing for returns, youd like to have your best company in each batch raise all the money. He acknowledged that that would be demoralizing to all the other companies, and you dont build a helpful network that way. On the other hand, a network of just three or four huge YC companies would be pretty helpful. Concerns about the accelerator scaling too much and too fast remain widespread. Drew Houston, the co-founder of Dropbox, told me that the supply of talented founders isnt infinite: At some point, company No. 10,001, youre just admitting people you would have rejected before. Marc Andreessen, whose venture firm invests fifteen per cent of its funds in YC companies, said, The composite view here is that YC is getting better at picking as they growand that, because they have an increasingly powerful magnet, theyre getting a more routinely qualified set of founders. But he added, The debate is: are they stretching the network to its breaking point? Its the genius and the madness all rolled into one. In huge success, the Valleys guiding principles conflict: scale precludes uniform excellence and a tight-knit network. Altman acknowledged the strain on the YC network, with hundreds of nascent companies all wanting the ear of, say, Patrick Collison (visit) at Stripe. Noting that Stripe just designated a contact for YC-related inquiries, he said he hoped that YCs other anchor companies will follow suit. Theyd better hurry. Starting this winter, YC Fellowship is becoming Startup School, a free, online, ten-week course for as many companies as want to take part. They wont get funded, but they can learn the same lessons as batch companies do.
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