Y Combinator, one of the world’s most famous accelerators, made its first tentative steps to the UK this week when it revealed that it is expanding its Start-up School from Mountain View, California, to London and New York.
Start-up School, previously confined to Silicon Valley, is a one-day event where founders of companies funded by Y Combinator share their experiences and offer advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs.
The free event – where speakers share how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew – will take place in New York on June 18 and in London on July 26. Those who wish to attend should apply by May 20 and June 20 respectively.
Although no firm plans have been revealed to launch an actual accelerator program in the UK, the latest move suggests that it could be on the horizon.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York yesterday, Sam Altman, who took over as the head of Y Combinator earlier this year from Paul Graham, said: “If we only focus on the US we miss maybe 95 percent of the best founders. It’s a big [request] to ask some kid to fly to the Bay Area.”
Indeed, several British entrepreneurs, such as Stripe's John Collison and Kivo's Leo Anthias, have relocated themselves to Silicon Valley in order to be participate in Y Combinator programs.
Y Combinator, launched in 2005, provides a group of start-ups with $120,000 in seed money between them, advice, and connections at two three-month programs per year. In exchange, it takes an average of about six percent of the company's equity.
Y Combinator graduates include Airbnb, Scribd, Dropbox, Reddit, and Salesforce.
According to reports, Altham admitted on stage that he thinks Y Combinator has a monopoly on accelerators at the moment.
When asked the total value of all of the companies still in existence that have gone through Y Combinator over last nine years, Altman said it's close to $30 billion (£18 billion).
Eric Van der Kleij, the British entrepreneur who heads up Canary Wharf-based fintech accelerator, Level39, told Techworld last week that the UK needs more accelerators to support the growing number of high-potential start-ups being produced in the UK.
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