The YCombinator Clones


Given the success of YCombinator, it is no surprise that many are trying to replicate Paul Graham’s idea, the latest being YEurope (including the Y), hoping to further accelerate the innovation cycle across the pond.

A few months ago, I asked a mildly bemused Paul Graham, what he thought about those copying his model, and here is what he had to say:

… it was inevitable that people would copy us. People don’t copy you if you are not successful. It is also a sign that it is working….

Graham’s explanation is that the cost of going from concept to product has collapsed and that is why he thinks this is a model that is going to stick. Anyway, what do they say about imitation being the best form of flattery… !


Must check out :)

“Y2 Combinator is a new kind of firm: a company that starts companies that starts companies. We help company-starting companies through what is for many the hardest step, copying the Y Combinator site without making silly mistakes.”

Jay (living in First Life)

From my comment on TechCrunch:

Another bomb on our hands. The valuation discount these guys get relative to the first real angel round or Series A is insane. I’ve heard b.s. arguments about how that makes up for the “risk” factor. Please. Anyone can put together a beta and raise $5,000 or 5,000 euros from friends and family. This is the internet we’re talking about. Find people online and email them. It’s not just about introductions and connections.

Michael I suppose you love the Y-Combinator type companies since they meet all the criteria for inclusion on TechCrunch:

A) Do something worthless – a mashup of widgets, photos that determine if you’re an entrepreneur or not, etc.
B) Generate no revenue and have no model for doing so besides “advertising”
C) Due to (B) the only viable liquidity event is a sale to a major internet player (Yahoo, Google, eBay, MSN) which is very, very unlikely
D) Target the same 20 – 30 year old male, tech savvy demographic and will likely never be able to even capture 1/100th of the TechCrunch readership after everyone realizes how it just wastes time and solves on real problem

It’s really a shame that so many people are falling for this model. Great model for TechStars, Y-Combinator, and Y-Europe. Lord over young entrepreneurs, under-fund them, and hope that one or two of them get acquired by bigger fools (ahem, Conde Nast).


definitely :)

I think I do see more of the same sometimes on the gigaom-techcrunch portals but I like how you two have your unique style/ways of breaking the news.

good work om!


Did I just read this on techcrunch and come here ?

oh well, I think you are right that imitation is indeed the best form of flattery. What remains to be seen is if techcrunch is flattering gigaom or the way around ;)

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