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Y Combinator accepted 15,000 startups into Startup School



Sam Altman
Altman, chief executive officer of Y

Drew Angerer/Getty

  • Y Combinator emailed tech founders saying they had been
    accepted into Startup School, its free online course for
  • Except it was a mistake and founders were hugely
  • Y Combinator then did another U-turn and said all
    15,000 applicants had been accepted onto the course, which
    normally only hosts around 3,000.

Prestigious accelerator Y Combinator has had to accept more than
15,000 startups onto its online education programme, Startup
School, after a major screw-up.

Several founders described on Twitter how Y Combinator had
emailed on Monday accepting them onto Startup School, only for
the firm to follow up hours later with a rejection email. In the
apologetic follow-up email, Y Combinator blamed its earlier
acceptance message on “an error… in the software.”

Startup School is a free, 10-week course that educates founders
about how to grow and manage their startup through video lectures
from entrepreneurs, such as WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum.

It is separate from the core accelerator programme, which has
produced successful firms such as Airbnb and Reddit. Last
, 2,800 companies took part in Startup School out of
around 13,000 applicants.

After founders described the “epic fail” and the “roller
Y Combinator said it would accept
the more than 15,000
companies which had applied to take part in Startup School.

Here’s what the company wrote, billing its mistake as a learning

“Our goal has always been to help the maximum number of startups,
but we were concerned that our infrastructure for Startup School
would not support all the companies that applied, which was more
than 15,000 startups.

“After today’s mistake, though, it seems like the only right
thing to do is to let everyone in. We’ve decided to use our error
as a forcing function to find a way to make Startup School work
for all founders who applied.”

That’s good news for founders who had just resigned themselves to
not taking part:

Not all 15,000 participating companies will receive all Startup
School perks.

Only the smaller, originally accepted batch of companies will
have access to Y Combinator’s network of advisors, such as its
president Sam Altman.

According to Y
Combinator partner Jared Friedman
, that will be around 3,700
startups. It also means all 15,000 participants will be competing
for the $10,000 grant that is given to 100 startups that complete
the course.

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