Trying To Make Silicon Valley More Diverse – Y Combinator

Y Combinator Logo

Y Combinator Logo

Y Combinator (YC) is the go-to startup accelerator. All other accelerators or incubators look to YC, quote it or copy it. It has been the starting point for tech juggernauts like AirBnB, Dropbox, Reddit, and Stripe and continues to find and grow the best and most innovative startup companies. They invest $120,000 for an average 7% stake in its portfolio companies.

Much has been said about the problem in Silicon Valley of a distinct lack of minorities and of tech in general. Apple has the highest number of black employees of the three largest Silicon Valley tech companies, and they only have 7%. Because of its influencing status in the industry, YC has received its fair share of criticism for its part. However, YC recently took its first step in fixing this problem.

YC added Michael Seibel to its team, its first full-time black partner, he has backed two YC startups. His latest startup just exited for $60 million, they were bought by Autodesk. Seibel sees YC as integral to his rise in Silicon Valley so he is a perfect fit for the position.

Though the accelerator has never avoided investing in minority owned startups, there is just not nearly the amount of minority applicants. That is why they now feel that a proactive outreach approach is necessary to encourage minorities to enter the startup world.

Women startup founders in the program have been low as well. In 2005, less than 5% of founders were women. That number has increased much quicker than the number of black founders and is now 23% of founders.

While YC is starting to reach out to females and black applicants, and track their outreach, it will not make investment decisions based on diversity.