For future founders, Y Combinator’s Startup School curriculum wasn’t quite right for them. It was intended for founders who are already working on building their companies.
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Now, the prestigious startup accelerator is expanding its reach to people who want to start a company in the future with its new course: Startup School for Future Founders.
YC was always about opening up to founders who weren’t part of the traditional startup ecosystem, and Startup School was built on the same idea, according to the school’s director Kyle Corbitt.
“It’s really about bringing this content, curriculum and our knowledge to an even wider group of people,” Corbitt said. “It was an obvious next step as we’re trying to move further upstream and make this opportunity available to more people.”
Startup School is designed for active, early-stage founders who are working on building their companies. More than 140,000 founders have gone through the program to date, and it’s also helped many of their startups make it to Y Combinator’s accelerator program–just over 50 percent of the companies in YC’s batch that just finished came from Startup School, according to Corbitt.
But the Startup School’s curriculum wasn’t tailored for people who want to start a company in the future, but just hadn’t decided what to work on first.
Each week the school has several hundred future founders try to sign up for the program, only to be redirected to the program’s mailing list, Corbitt said, acknowledging that the current experience isn’t great for future founders. There have been requests for something like Startup School for those who want to one day start a company, he added.
The six-week Startup School for Future Founders course includes lessons in how future founders can find an outstanding startup idea as well as exercises for future founders such as how to vet a co-founder and validate an idea with potential customers, according to a blog post by Y Combinator.
Startup School went through the top 100 YC companies that went on to be the most successful from its core batch program, then went back and looked at their applications to find out how those companies found their ideas and co-founders. The program created content around those topics using real examples.
“We kind of try to use our community to solve those key early issues a lot of founders face,” Corbitt said.
When participants are ready to start their company, they can switch to an active founder profile. Y Combinator will be rolling out a co-founder matching service in the near future as well, according to the startup accelerator.
“We’re really trying to move off the existing demographic or the existing people who already know about YC or are already in Silicon Valley, we want to widen the funnel,” Corbitt said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias