The Odds Are Always Against Startups

Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman just released a fascinating set of statistics about the firm. The numbers are pretty stunning; Y Combinator’s 940 companies are now worth more than $65 billion.  That’s an astonishing mean value of $69 million…and recall, that Y Combinator buys into those startups at a sub-$1 million valuation.  Now that’s a … Continue reading The Odds Are Always Against Startups

The VC Cosmological Constant

In his recent essay on “Startup Investing Trends”, the always insightful Paul Graham referred to the VC cosmological constant: “There’s a rule of thumb in the VC business that there are about 15 companies a year that will be really successful. Although a lot of investors unconsciously treat this number as if it were … Continue reading The VC Cosmological Constant

Y Combinator’s Startup Math

Paul Graham has a great essay out in which he explains his view of both Y Combinator and the startup ecosystem.  As usual, it’s a thoughtful essay with a lot of great points.  But what I’d like to focus on are the numbers he provided on YC’s portfolio: “Y Combinator has now funded 564 … Continue reading Y Combinator’s Startup Math

The Real Odds That Your Startup “Succeeds”

Henry Blodget is a smart journalist who knows how to drive pageviews.  He certainly got me to click through when he picked the headline, “DEAR ENTREPRENEURS: Here’s How Bad Your Odds Of Success Are” Blodget riffs on a tweet by Paul Graham to estimate the odds of startup success: “Graham says that 37 of … Continue reading The Real Odds That Your Startup “Succeeds”

Paul Graham’s Office Hours Questions

I love this HackerNews item on the key questions you’d use when programming a Paul Graham bot to dispense startup advice. Here are the questions/phrases: “Who needs it?”“Who uses it?”“Who *really* needs it?”“What problem does this solve?”“Does that problem *really* need to be solved?”“What is the worst problem in your life?”“In any given day, how … Continue reading Paul Graham’s Office Hours Questions