Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Gmail Creator Leaves Facebook for Y Combinator

Paul Buchheit, the well-respected developer and angel investor, is moving on from Facebook, which had acquired him along with FriendFeed, the start-up he co-founded and funded.

Paul Buchheit

Buchheit has joined Mountain View, Calif.-based Y Combinator as a partner, a move that wasn’t altogether unexpected as he had been closely affiliated with the start-up incubator program. As an angel investor, Buchheit is the all-time leader for total YC companies backed. By the time the last three-month YC session had ended with a public Demo Day presentation to potential investors, Buchheit had already funded five of the 36 companies.

Buchheit is most famous for his work at Google, where he created Gmail, built the first prototype of AdSense and came up with the motto “Don’t be evil.”

Today is Buchheit’s last day at Facebook, where he had not held a particularly public-facing role. That’s in contrast to his FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor, who quickly rose through the ranks at Facebook and was named CTO in June. FriendFeed had been acquired for $50 million in August 2009.

In a blog post announcing the move, Y Combinator partner Paul Graham said of Buchheit, “He’s a good friend as well as one of the world’s best hackers; for years we’ve considered him an honorary YC partner.” Within the Y Combinator community, Graham is known as “PG” and Buchheit as “PB.”

Harjeet Taggar

Y Combinator also named Harjeet Taggar a partner today. This was an internal promotion for Taggar, who had joined the program in February to do business development. Previously, he had founded Auctomatic, which participated in the Y Combinator winter class in 2007, and was sold to Live Current Media in 2008 for $5 million.

Y Combinator partner Jessica Livingston said that the new expanded team of six partners should allow the program to invest in more companies. YC classes have grown significantly over time; the first session had only eight companies.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik