Posts Tagged ‘y combinator’

Y Combinator has distilled its experiences and insights about how to start a startup into a series of lectures for Stanford University.  Most of the lectures are delivered by people with an impressive track record of hypergrowth in their companies and huge exits under their belt.

I’ve taken notes of the bits that resonated with me, and am sharing these in case they’re useful.  You can find a link to the lecture at the end of this post.


The previous lecture focussed on Idea and Product.  The second lecture is about having the right team and the importance of execution.


  • A startup should ideally have 2 or 3 cofounders – not more and not less.
  • Choose a co-founder as carefully as you would choose an employee.  In YC, the number 1 cause of early death in startups is co-founder conflict. Make sure that the person you choose is relentless resourceful, tough and calm.  That’s more important than them being an expert in a given domain.
  • Decide on an equity split quite early on – don’t let it drag on.  Also, have vesting on equity.


  • Avoid hiring in the early days.  Keep the team as small as possible, even if that means it’s just the co-founders. However, later on, when you’re scaling up, you should learn to hire very quickly.
  • Getting an early hire wrong can be very damaging to a startup.  Mediocre hires during the early phase can kill startups.
  • For early hires, experience may not matter as much as aptitude and belief in what you are doing.  Good communication skills tend to correlate with hires that work out. 


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This guest blog is brought to you by Jennie Lees, co-founder of Affect Labs, blogger at Trendpreneur, and social media extraordinaire… We’re very excited to get the gossip from her on this exclusive event in San Francisco. Also note that Y Combinator graduate Alex Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, will be speaking tomorrow and Thursday in Edinburgh.

Not to be confused with Doug Richards’ UK-based School for StartupsStartup School is an annual event organised by Paul Graham of Y Combinator, an early stage investment firm in Silicon Valley. This year I was lucky enough to go along – as were 800 other people – to listen to pearls of wisdom dropped from an entrepreneurial A-list.

Paul Graham himself kicked the event off with a talk on what startups are really like – the key lessons being themes that are frequently cropping up in many startups’ lives, from finding the right co-founder (it’s like a marriage) to being surprised at quite how much of an all-consuming rollercoaster startup life becomes. One of his most interesting points was that (more…)

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With a full week of excitement here, I must admit I am struggling to implement my ‘just say no‘ mentality… Thursday alone is enough action for a month!

Panel Discussion on Intellectual Property Rights: Monday 23rd Nov, 5:30pm at UofE Business School, LT1

Come to this panel discussion to hear a range of views about the issues surrounding innovation vs copyright. This event is held jointly between the E-Club and the Bathwick Group, and the list of speakers looks like an entertaining mix. Hear from the Head of School from Informatics, a School of Law professor, a law firm partner, the awesome hand-making startup Touch Bionics, and Scottish Enterprise. Crisps and wine as a reward for listening, and no need to RSVP.

SICSA DemoFest: Tuesday 24th Nov, 5pm at the Informatics Forum

Check out all the hot research and advancements in computer science and informatics coming out of Scottish universities, including our very own Kate!  (more…)

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