Get an inside look at one of Silicon Valley's most successful incubators, Y Combinator.
Companies like Heyzap, Airbnb, Hipmunk, Reddit and Dropbox are all very different but have one mighty factor in common - they got their initial green and kibitz from Y Combinator. Heralded by Wired as the "most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs," YC rests on a formula of seed funding, peer networking and a three-month do-or-die boot camp. What is the secret to the Y Combinator sauce that turns out such wildly successful companies? Hear from Y Combinator Partner Harj Taggar and four of its most booming YC graduates to get a look behind the curtain of this Silicon Valley incubator icon.
Joe defines the Airbnb experience. He is dedicated to creating an inspiring and effortless user experience through sharp, intuitive design, and crafts the product roadmap to make it so. Joe values products that simplify life and have a positive impact on the environment, and ensures that the company adheres to these tenets.
Prior to Airbnb, Joe was employed by Chronicle Books, co-founded a green design website, and developed several consumer products. An alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design, Joe earned dual degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design. He also founded the school's basketball team and led as student body president.
Joe fantasizes about an Airbnb getaway to this Fijian private island, though his ultimate dream is to one day book a night at The Eames Case Study House No. 8 in Pacific Palisades, CA citing it as 'a living artifact of good design.'
Jude Gomila was born in London, UK and attended the UK's Cambridge University. He graduated with Honors in Engineering and Management. During his final year of University he started Sugar Global, a digital photo frame brand, making sales to UK stores including Harrods, Selfridges, Amazon and Firebox.com. Sugar products were featured in the What Hi-Fi Magazine's Expo 2007. After Sugar Global, Jude Gomila went on to found a charity gaming site (Helpthirst.com) in contract with Worldvision.
Prior to founding Hipmunk, Steve founded the social news site, reddit, in 2005 with his college roommate, Alexis Ohanian. Reddit has since grown into the largest social news site and one of the largest communities on the Internet. In 2010, Adam pulled Steve out of retirement to start Hipmunk.
Randall Stross writes the New York Times column Digital Domain and is professor of business at San Jose State University. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including The Wizard of Menlo Park, eBoys, and The Microsoft Way. He lives in Burlingame, California.
Harj Taggar was previously founder of Auctomatic, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2007 and was acquired by Live Current Media in 2008. He graduated in 2006 from Oxford, where he studied law.