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YC Changes: Altman Steps Down as President, Accelerator Eyes HQ Move to SF

Major changes are afoot at Y Combinator. In its blog on Friday, the popular startup accelerator announced that its president, Sam Altman, is “transitioning” to the role of chairman.

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Altman joined YC as a part-time partner in 2011 before taking on the president role in 2014. YC didn’t announce its plans for who would replace Altman saying only that the former president had “shifted his operational responsibilities” to other partners and there would “be no significant operational change.” (For context, YC has backed a number of startups that grew to become tech giants, including Dropbox, Reddit, and DoorDash.)

According to the blog, the move will give Altman time to focus on OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research institution that also counts Peter Thiel and Elon Musk as supporters.

YC also announced that it’s “currently looking for space” to move its headquarters from Mountain View to San Francisco. This news is interesting as it provides further evidence that San Francisco is “taking over” the Valley when it comes to increasingly serving as the new home base for many startups and tech-related organizations.

In its blog, YC said:

The center of gravity for new startups has clearly shifted over the past five years, and although we love our space in Mountain View, we are rethinking whether the logistical tradeoff is worth it, especially given how difficult the commute has become. We also want to be closer to our Bay Area alumni, who disproportionately live and work in San Francisco.

The headquarters move would be in addition to a shift in location for the accelerator’s DemoDay, a two-day event where Y Combinator-funded founders “present their companies to a room full of specially selected investors and press.”

Meanwhile, YC also noted that it had over 12,000 applicants for its Winter 2019 batch, up 30 percent from the summer of 2018. Rather than reject “a lot of great founders,” YC grew its batch and then funded over 200 companies in the winter. That was a 25 percent spike compared to the summer of 2018.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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