Mosaic Ventures in Conversation with Y Combinator President, Sam Altman

Recently we were thrilled to host a second fireside chat with Y Combinator President Sam Altman. 800 folks from the London tech community joined us at Shoreditch Town Hall to hear his views on topics ranging from scaling YC to Artificial Intelligence.

YC continues to grow from strength to strength — their recent annual report YC counted cumulative support for over 3,200 founders and 1,470 companies, including big successes such as Airbnb, Cruise, Docker, Reddit and Stripe — all combined, approaching a combined market cap of $100B.

“We have never found success funding startups that use YC as a resume item”

In the chat, Sam discusses YC’s newly launched online Startup School, which offers high quality content and coaching for founders from YC’s alumni and network. The ambition is to support the global entrepreneur community in building their startups with lessons and insights from successful founders.

YC gets over 50,000 applications from individuals around the world each year (funnelling into approx 250 companies across 2 annual cohorts). We asked Sam:

  • what YC looks for in great founders
  • the ideal composition of founding teams
  • why they are attracted to non-traditional founders
  • the pros and cons of being a founder versus an early employee at a startup
“It is a very different experience being a founder and a employee. As the founder you get to do every job; as everyone else you only focus on one vertical area.”

Regarding AI, Having launched Open AI (the first YC Research project) in 2016, we discuss how the organisation continues to double down on Artificial Intelligence including YC’s new dedicated AI track. Sam outlines his strong belief that AI will remake every vertical and how AI and Humans may be able to coexist going forward (“the merge”). In addition, with the increasing trend of automation replacing human jobs, Sam makes the case that the tech industry has a responsibility in retraining human workers and how we need to consider new ways to redistribute wealth.

Additional Recent Posts from the Mosaic Ventures Team:

The Future of Mortgages — We wrote last April about the opportunity for habito to bring mortgages into the 21st century. Mortgages are an enormous category, over £200 billion in the UK alone. Yet for a commodity-like product — who cares which lender your money comes from — it is exceedingly complex for a consumer to find the right mortgage, struggle through the jargon, and the mountain of paperwork, then stay on the best deal forever. Read More

Building and Scaling Marketplaces with Reid Hoffman — At Mosaic we’re long been big believers in the potential of Marketplace Business. In this episode of the Mosaic Ventures Podcast, Mosaic Partner Simon Levene is joined by linkedin Founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman speaking at our Inaugural Marketplaces Meetup earlier this year. Read More

Fireside Chat with Y Combinator President, Sam Altman — In this podcast, Mosaic partners Simon Levene and Mike Chalfen explore with Sam Altman his interest in “hard tech” sectors including Energy and Synthetic Life. Sam also discusses YC’s strategy and future including the new $700 continuity fund as well as the launch of YC research, a nonprofit research lab (including the famed initiative around universal basic income). Read More

You can follow us on twitter @Mosaic_VC, Linkedin, Facebook and Angelist