What a week we all had out in California!
We hosted our weekly dinner at our office in Mountain View. We share space with Trevor’s company, Anybots, so the founders were introduced to his robots, Dexter and Monty.
Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures and Sam Altman of Loopt were the guest speakers. Steve gave an investor’s advice on the fundraising process, and Sam offered the founder’s perspective.
The Bay area alumni descended, making dinner an impromptu YC reunion. I had forgotten what a force of nature all the past founders can be when they are in one room.
YC founders listen to the guest speakers
Ashwin (Buxfer) and Dan (Weebly)
Pelle and Sam
Paul and Steve (Reddit)
The big day was last Thursday and it came off without a hitch. Between the east and west coast Demo Days, the founders demoed to pretty much all the big Internet VCs, along with a lot of angels and even some acquirers.
In fact, the biggest problem we had was the crowd. Our California space is pretty big, but it was still uncomfortably tight. We’re going to have to try something different this winter. I think our plan will be to be to host a special session a few days in advance of Demo Day: a sneak preview for any investor who has previously invested in any YC company.
The investors seemed pleased: it was a very efficient way for them to see a lot of new startups. Many mentioned how impressed they were with the founders’ presentation skills (Paul warns the audience that we choose people because they are good hackers, not good presenters). One VC told me he was on a high from “having quaffed 19 shots at the entrepreneurial bar.”
We had some nice write-ups by the press.
Afterward, Trevor’s toys (the Segwell and Eunicycle) came out, and luckily no one was seriously injured.
Peter Nixey (and his iron-on shirt) on the "Eunicycle"
Pete Couldridge (blurred) almost takes down Paul Graham (with camera)
The proof of the pudding is in the eating
Though it feels like Demo Day was a success, the real test is how many of the startups can get more funding. I hate to scare the founders, but all the hard work they’ve done so far may seem like a walk in the park compared to actually getting investors to close.
Paul’s written some great essays about this. I think the hardest part of being a YC-funded company may be the second three months. We’ve seen a lot of our startups do well during this period, but I’m afraid we’ve also seen some wither and die. So we’re working with the founders now as they try to get more funding.
We capped off the week with the Xobni office-warming party on Friday night. The Xobnis’ new office is just right: funky, good light, not too fancy. A good place to take over the world from.
It was especially fun to see everyone at an event that I was not hosting. Though it was a party, it still kind of amazed me how cheery everyone seemed.
There are so many YC alumni now that they’ve become a real society. Paul told me later that there was nothing like this around when he, Robert and Trevor were starting Viaweb. No one really understood what they were doing. Their friends would ask, “So, are you still doing that company thing?” At the Xobni party, practically everyone there had either started or worked for a startup. They understood.