Added on Apr 22, 2010
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Founder of the iconic Y Combinator startup accelerator and related aggregator Hacker News, Graham is a hero to masses of would-be startup gods. His helped launch more than 150 startups throughout his career, and he's done so with a lot less cold, hard capital than you'd imagine. As he told the Harvard Computer Society in 2005.
You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.
Y Combinator gathers large groups of startup teams "generally a young, developer-heavy crowd" and infuses them with advice, training and small amounts of seed capital, which let founders keep ramen on the table and prove their passion for the work over the course of a few months.
This program has spawned dozens of spin-offs around the country. More than an incubator and more than a VC fund, Y Combinator has changed how we think about timelines, road maps, the importance of mentorship, and what it means to be a lean startup. The program has also created an elite crew of alumni who still dine out once a week and secure funding for later projects based on their former Y Combinator successes.