The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator

by Randall Stross
     
 

A behind-the-scenes look at how tomorrow’s hottest startups are being primed for greatness
 
Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guidance from Paul Graham, YC’s impresario, and his partners.

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Overview

A behind-the-scenes look at how tomorrow’s hottest startups are being primed for greatness
 
Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guidance from Paul Graham, YC’s impresario, and his partners. Receiving an offer from YC creates the opportunity of a lifetime.
 
Acclaimed journalist Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinator, enabling a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. Over the course of a summer, we watch as a group of founders scramble to make something people want.
 
This is the definitive story of a seismic shift in the business world, in which coding skill trumps experience, undergraduates confidently take on Goliaths, and investors fall in love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Y Combinator is a national treasure, a Silicon Valley seed fund that is mass-producing new startups. Randall Stross’s behind-the-scenes look at YC offers a rare glimpse into what it really takes to conceive an idea and get it to market as quickly as possible. The Launch Pad is a must-read for anyone interested in the realities of modern entrepreneurship.”
—Eric Ries, author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup

“The Launch Pad is an intimate look at the white-hot center of the new Silicon Valley star tup ecosystem. Stross’s account of the best new entrepreneurs and the exciting companies they’re building at startup schools is a great read for founders and would-be founders alike.”
—Marc Andreessen, cofounder, Andreessen Horowitz

Kirkus Reviews
An inside look at a Silicon Valley training program for nascent online companies. In 2011, New York Times columnist Stross (Business/San Jose State Univ.; Planet Google, 2008, etc.) was granted round-the-clock access to a small but prominent venture capital firm called Y Combinator. Sometimes called a "seed accelerator," Y Combinator offers seed money to a very select group of startup companies (in exchange for equity in the company), combined with an intensive three-month program of instruction and critique. It culminates in a presentation to a group of outside investors who will hopefully invest in these new companies. Graduates include file-sharing site Dropbox and the online commenting service Disqus, used by many major publications. With so much at stake, this book should be thrumming with dramatic tension: Who will fail or succeed? Unfortunately, instead of highlighting a few budding CEOs, Stross tries to cover far too many, leaving readers with little insight into the struggles these (often quite young) entrepreneurs must be experiencing. The book also suffers from a lack of insight into key issues. For example, a chapter ostensibly meant to look at "the dispiriting lack of women founders in tech" begins by pointing out that "[i]n the six-year history of YC...there had been only one instance in which there had been an all-female team." But instead of seriously examining the question of why the YC applicant pool is largely, in the words of YC founder Paul Graham, "a bunch of white and Asian dudes," Stross introduces the male YC teams who happen to have wives and young children, before concluding the chapter with only vague theories behind the lack of women in tech. A superficial examination of the tech elite.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591846581
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
931,736
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Randall Stross writes the “Digital Domain” column for the New York Times and is a professor of business at San Jose State University. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including eBoys, Planet Google, and The Wizard of Menlo Park. He has a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University.

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