Michael Ossarehof Heysan! advises two new startups.
A few weeks ago, we kicked off Y Combinator’s sixth funding cycle with 21 new startups. They’re all living in the Bay Area now and are totally immersed in building their products. Some have already launched.
One of the things that surprised us recently is how big the YC alumni network has grown. Now that we’ve invested in 80 startups, there are almost 200 alumni. It didn’t really hit us till we started organizing a reunion and realized they’d barely fit even in our huge west coast building.
A cheery reunion with founders from last summer's funding cycle.
It’s great how much the founders help one another. As usual, several alumni came to our first dinner to talk about what they wish they’d known when they were just starting. The most consistent pieces of advice: launch quickly, be really careful about hiring, and that raising money can take longer than you’d expect.
Joe Kraus (seated far right, in "Cookie Monster" t-shirt) talks to the founders.
Joe Kraus, a perennial favorite with the founders, came to the second dinner to talk about his experiences founding Excite and JotSpot. Joe is such a smart and articulate person—I always enjoy hearing him talk. My favorite takeaways:
- #1 Persistence. The “$4 billion dollar story” of how Excite landed the Netscape button deal is a must-read for every entrepreneur.
- Hiring is key. The cost of hiring someone bad is so much greater than missing out on someone good. I think this was a rule they took very seriously the second-time around. They wanted “no false positives.”
- You make what you measure. Merely measuring something regularly will help you to improve it. And not measuring it will almost guarantee failure.
Carolynn Levy of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati joined us at the third dinner to talk about corporate law. WSGR is probably the most prominent startup law firm in the valley. Most founders don’t get too excited about legal stuff (which is as it should be) but everyone liked Carolynn because she knows startup law so well and is what Paul calls “hacker compatible.”