Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Y Combinator’s Demo Day Gets Supersized

Today a considerable slice of the early stage Internet technology world heads to Mountain View, Calif., to see the latest batch of Y Combinator start-ups.

“Demo Day” will be held for the first time as one grand event at the Computer History Museum, after the end-of-program affair had swelled into multiple sessions over multiple days as it outgrew the orange-walled Y Combinator offices time and again.

“YC” is the influential start-up accelerator that has produced hits like Dropbox and Airbnb and also helped reshape the start-up world around the ideal of its young, hacker-led teams. Over the years, it has become a sort of entrepreneurial grad school; in fact, YC recently announced it will start accepting applications from groups who don’t yet have a company idea.

Some 66 start-ups participated in the current session, and more than 500 angel and venture investors are scheduled to attend.

Y Combinator created a tablet-optimized portal for investors and start-ups to connect with each other before the day ends. To give you an idea of the anticipated feeding frenzy, here’s what the firm told investors: “We recommend you sign up for the online system, because the increased opportunities to meet at Demo Day may mean that some start-ups will have handshake deals for as much money as they want by the end of Demo Day itself.”

This year’s batch of companies have each already had the opportunity to raise some $168,000 while giving up a small bit of equity, and some start-ups have already launched to the public.

The group includes one founder who is on his third round at Y Combinator. That’s Justin Kan of Exec, which he called “an Uber for TaskRabbit” when we interviewed him before it launched. Kan was formerly founder of Kiko and Justin.tv, and is also a part-time partner at Y Combinator.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user brianjmatis)


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work