- Y Combinator, the prestigious startup accelerator responsible for megahit startups like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Brex, has leaped into the race to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
- On Wednesday, the startup-training program announced it would fast-track applications and funding for startups responding to the COVID-19 outbreak by making testing kits, treatments and vaccines, hospital equipment, or the data infrastructure to handle it.
- The decision comes on the heels of a similar commitment made by former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, in which he told startups aiding the COVID-19 response effort to email him pitches for funding.
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Y Combinator, the prestigious startup accelerator known for spotting some of the hottest startups operating in the tech world today, has joined the effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak by doing what it does best — funding startups.
On Wednesday, the company said it was hunting for promising startups looking to alter the fast-paced trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic. Applicants to its summer batch that fit the accelerator’s criteria would be ushered in to the program — and receive funding — immediately.
“For a startup to have an impact in time to address the current crisis, it will have to move faster than most people think is possible,” Y Combinator said. “We will fast-track a handful of promising COVID-19 startups through our admissions process for the summer batch and immediately fund them so they can get started right away.”
Y Combinator listed a few examples of the startups that it was looking to fund: companies making testing kits, treatments and vaccines, hospital equipment, or the monitoring and data infrastructure necessary to track the outbreak.
And more than 20 startups that have already graduated from the elite startup-training program have also begun pivoting their services to fight the pandemic, Y Combinator said.
The decision comes on the heels of a similar commitment made by former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, in which he told startups aiding the COVID-19 response effort to email him pitches for funding.
“I’m trying to fund startups/projects helping with COVID-19, because it’s basically the one thing I know how to do that can help,” Altman said in a blog post.
Unprecedented changes to the program amid the coronavirus
Startups from all over the world typically line up for a chance to fly out to Mountain View, California, to work with Y Combinator’s savvy partners and take to the stage to pitch their companies to a room packed with venture capitalists and celebrity investors.
But the coronavirus pandemic has brought major changes to the storied program. Notably, its Demo Day will be virtual, and founder pitches will be omitted from the process.
Its newest cohort will be operating under entirely unique circumstances as the US does its best to limit movement amid the outbreak.
“They will participate in YC remotely and can immediately begin doing office hours with YC Partners and getting help from the YC community,” Y Combinator said.